MotoGP 2002-2022: who won most?

4/11/2022

 A mini-guide to the riders, manufacturers and countries with the most victories over the last 20 years of MotoGP

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​April 7, 2002, a historical date for the World Championship: the Suzuka circuit hosted the first race of the MotoGP, which would go on to replace the 500cc class. Valentino Rossi won, with a second and a half advantage over Akira Ryo and 8 seconds ahead of Carlos Checa, who took his place on the third step of the podium - all having raced on bikes with Brembo brakes. 


This event represented a revolution in the two-wheel world, because until the advent of the World Championship in 1949, the 500cc had always been the premier class. However, in 2002, in an attempt to meet public demand for less polluting vehicles, the regulations were changed, allowing the use of four-stroke engines. ​


 

 

Indeed, following this change, the use of four-stroke 990cc motorbikes was permitted - these were expressly called prototypes, to dispel doubts regarding their similarity to the bikes used in the World Superbike Championship. Initially, 500cc two-strokes were also still permitted, and as such, the two types of engine could be found on the track at the same time. 


However, despite the fact that lower minimum weights were allowed for two-stroke bikes (110 kg for two-cylinder models and 130 kg for four-cylinder bikes compared to 145 kg for the 990cc four-cylinder), as well as larger fuel tanks (32 liters compared to 24 liters for MotoGP bikes), the sheer performance of the newcomers made the superiority of these machines clear from the outset. 


The power of the early MotoGP bikes was around 220hp, compared to 185hp for the most advanced 500cc bikes, and the gap only grew as the months went by. The lap times in particular saw the effects of this, and were often lower even in the same weather conditions. ​


 

 

However, one thing that didn’t change on GP bikes in the premier class was the braking system, with the exception of a few minor details. Indeed, Brembo had reigned supreme since right back in 1995, the last year in which a bike without Brembo brake components won a 500cc GP, in France. The brand’s supremacy continued unabated despite the transition from the 500cc to MotoGP, in part thanks to the continuous investment focused on improving the calipers, the carbon discs (which could now be used in the rain), brake pads and master cylinders - so much so that all 347 of the premier class races held in the first 20 years of the MotoGP (2002-2021) were conquered by bikes equipped with Brembo brakes. 


An incredible en plein - during this time, several tire and suspension manufacturers saw their products race to victory, as well as 5 different motorbike manufacturers: 163 victories for Honda, 115 for Yamaha, 58 for Ducati, 6 for Suzuki and 5 for KTM. The only manufacturer missing from the list was Aprilia, but this year, they succeeded in making that annoying zero a thing of the past - although this success, like all the others this year, is not included in our calculations, which refer to the first 20 seasons of MotoGP. ​


 

 












Indeed, a grand total of 31 riders rode to victory at least once in the first 20 editions of the MotoGP, and as you may imagine, Valentino Rossi is far in the lead, with 76 victories. The Doctor, who has been faithful to Brembo brakes since his debut in the World Championship in 1996 on his Aprilia 125, immediately shot into first place in the very first year of MotoGP, and has never let it go since.​

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In second place is Marc Marquez, who has been racing in the MotoGP since 2013 - he holds 59 victories, after being stuck on 56 for over a year due to an injury to his right humerus. In third place is his former HRC teammate Jorge Lorenzo with 47 victories under his belt - a number which saw him in second place for a long period, before being overtaken in 2019 by his fellow countryman.​

Casey Stoner (38 victories) and Dani Pedrosa (31) also boast impressive records, although unlike his rivals, Pedrosa has never succeeded in winning a world champion MotoGP title. Andrea Dovizioso is also in the double figures with 15 wins, while none of the others, retired riders included, have hit 10, although Maverick Viñales is just one off with 9.​


 

In terms of countries, meanwhile, Spain takes the lead - its national anthem has been played 160 times in the last 20 years, in honor of 9 different riders. The latest Spaniard to join the winners is Jorge Martin, with his triumph at the 2021 Styrian GP on the Ducati, racing for the Pramac team. (As mentioned above, we are not taking Aleix Espargaro's triumph on the Aprilia into account, due to the fact that we are referring to the seasons between 2002-2021.)​


 

Moving on from the riders, the Italian team also enjoyed its first success in the MotoGP, accompanied, of course, by Brembo brakes. Having once been used exclusively by factory teams, Brembo brakes are now also selected both by satellite and private teams, thanks to their performance and reliability. 


 Italy is second in the rankings with 118 victories won by 9 different riders, while Australia comes in third with 43 GP wins thanks to 4 riders. France is in fourth with eight victories, all of which have been won by Fabio Quartararo, the 2021 World Champion. Further down we have the US with four victories, three each for Brazil, Japan, Great Britain and Portugal, and two for South Africa.


 

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