Top 10 Grand Prix bikes from the last decade

The last 10 years have seen changes to Grand Prix racing with a name change to MotoGP, a shift from two to four stroke and engine capacity. As this decade is coming to an end here are the bikes that have defined this era

10. Aprilia RS3 Cube - 2003

Insane, crazy, mental, and terrifying; words that sum up the beast that was the Aprilia RS3 Cube. On paper the Cube was a revolution in Grand Prix bikes with a 990cc triple engine built by Cosworth and an electronic fly-by-wire throttle. The most memorable moments for 2003 were the Cube’s tendency to launch it’s rider in to the air and when the bike transformed in to a two-wheel fireball and singed the back of the Colin Edwards.

09. Proton KR3 - 2002

1:31.9 was the lap that clinched the final two-stroke pole with Jeremy McWilliams around Phillip Island; with the silver Proton KR3 heading an all two-stroke front row. Neither McWilliams nor Nobuatsu Aoki troubled the top five on the KR3, but over a single lap around Phillip Island both McWilliams and Aoki were able to take full advantage of the lightweight 500cc triple and exploit the high corner speed around the circuit.

08. KTM 125 - 2005

Harald Bartol pieced together the 125 KTM in a small workshop in Austria to take on the might of Aprilia and Honda. The orange machine had possibly the best opportunity in 2005 with Mika Kallio at the controls, that if it wasn’t for an unexpected slipstream pass by team mate, Gabor Talmasci at Qatar. Kallio finished the year with second place in the championship, a commendable performance for a team that lacked the budget of the larger factories.

Seven to five

07. Suzuki RGV500 - 2000

The most successful Suzuki from the last decade, Kenny Roberts Jr. secured the 2000 championship holding off the exuberant rookie, Valentino Rossi. Onboard the RGV500 Roberts Jr. took four wins, four seconds and one third to make the Roberts name the first and only father-son premier class Grand Prix champions. The 2000 win also saw the number one return to the front of an RGV Suzuki since Kevin Schwantz was victorious in 1993.

06. Aprilia RSW250 - 2007

With nine wins in 2007 the factory Aprilia of Jorge Lorenzo aided in cementing the Majorcan's ego in the sport and guided the pen to a Yamaha MotoGP contract for 2008. Spain’s No1 would take 16 wins on an Aprilia 250 becoming the most successful Spanish racer in the class. With the RSW250 Lorenzo would begin his campaign of planting the Lorenzo’s Land flags in the gravel traps in celebration.

05. Yamaha M1 - 2004

The M1 was not the best racer on the track but in 2004 when Yamaha snapped Rossi up from the clutches of the Honda Racing Corporation, came a perfect mould between the Italian and the machine. Never really setting the timesheets alight in the pre-season testing the M1 and Rossi would shock the world with a historic win in the opening round of the championship in South Africa, fending off the Hondas of Biaggi and Gibernau.

04. Honda NSR500

A bike crafted by the Japanese technicians at Honda and perfected with the team of Burgress and Doohan, when it came in to the palms of Valentino Rossi, the Honda NSR500 was the definitive version of the 500cc racer. Rossi and his no.46 Nastro Azzurro NSR500 would go on to give Honda it's swansong to be the final champions in the two-stroke generation of Grand Prix racing.

Three to one

03. Aprilia RSA125

In 2009 the Aprilia RSA125 dominated the 16 race series with 14 wins, and the other two coming from the rebadged Derbi RSA. The top 10 positions of the championship were littered with nine Aprilias, with Bradley Smith amongst them in second place at the end of the season. The Aprilia and Derbis would cover the top three steps of the podium at all the rounds except one race.

02. Ducati Desmosedici - 2007

The Ducati Desmosedici propelled Casey Stoner to the 2007 MotoGP championship and turned the Australian from a crasher to a winner. After a move to 800cc the Desmodromic valves rotated perfectly to give the GP7 a top speed that embarrassed the other manufacturers. However, the personality of the Ducati GP7 appeared to only suit the Australian as he went on to win 10 of the 18 races.

01. Honda RC211V - 2002

When the 500cc class evolved in to the 990 MotoGP bikes, the Honda RC211V was a triumphant success, winning its debut race and Rossi winning  the championship. Over the 990 period the RC211V was the most successful bike winning over 50% of the races, but it was the original 2002 990 Honda that defined the MotoGP era with it’s brutal sideways action and the barking volume of it's exhaust note. Even die-hard two-stroke fans watched this pure GP prototype with slack-jawed awe.