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Top 20 500/MotoGP riders


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#1 jeze

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Posted 23 January 2010 - 16:52

I would like to see how you regard the greats from past and present relative to each other. My list is made partly by stats, but most by gut feeling.

1, Giacomo Agostini (on the basis of his complete domination, beat Read and Hailwood as well)
2, Valentino Rossi (needs another title first)
3, Mike Hailwood (pretty much 100 % in victories during his glory days, and unbeatble at Isle of Man).
4, Mick Doohan (five on the trot between 1994 and 1998, but fails to reach top 3, due to not winning a title against Rainey and Schwantz (even though he would in 1992).
5, John Surtees (the opposition wasn't that great, and he departed before really obliterating the record books).
6, Wayne Rainey (could easily have won four on the trot, when ending up in a wheelchair).
7, Eddie Lawson (four titles, but just not fats enough for top 5).
8, Kenny Roberts (top-class rider, but it feels like the roster of talent wasn't up to scratch during 1978-1980).
9, Casey Stoner (20 GP wins at 24 speak for themselves).
10, Geoff Duke (won pretty much everything, but lost out to Surtees).
11, Phil Read (ended Agostini's reign, but retired shortly afterwards).
12, Freddie Spencer (the Stoner of the 80's, could've been the greatest driver of his generation but for the injuries).
13, Kevin Schwantz (spectacular: yes, effective :no)
14, Barry Sheene (1976 and 1977 were hardly benchmark years for 500 cc).
15, Wayne Gardner (won title against Lawson on a nasty machine, pretty good effort).
16, Randy Mamola (the greatest not to have won the title).
17, Max Biaggi (marvellous on the 500cc bikes, yet struggling on the bigger, but his 1998 season is one to remember).
18, Jarno Saarinen (only did a few starts, but man how he did them. Would've been multiple champion).
19, Jorge Lorenzo (the only team-mate to rattle Rossi).
20, Gary Hocking (retired too soon to be any higher).

Dani Pedrosa, Àlex Crivillé, Marco Lucchinelli, Franco Uncini, Leslie Graham and Nicky Hayden are among those riders who just misses out on a spot on my list.

I think it's pretty clear that we've seen some amazing talent, and there are lots more true greats in MotoGP history than in F1. Those who could ride, really could ride. The guys around 14:th on the list wouldn't be much slower than the top guys in any era, and it's quite clear that, either you're great, or not very good, it just seems to be no middle ground.

Now, how's yours?

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#2 Lazarus II

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Posted 23 January 2010 - 16:58

Lawson not "fast enough"? Did you see him ride? he dominated Wayne (who's a better 'person' than Eddie) prior to the Japanese accident. Did you see Eddie ride that pile 'o crap Cagiva? Eddie didn't win four titles because of a lack of speed that's for certain.

Kenny Sr changed the way the bikes were riden.

Both are way underrated in your list, but good to see recogintion of truly great talents.

#3 jeze

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Posted 23 January 2010 - 17:02

Lawson not "fast enough"? Did you see him ride? he dominated Wayne (who's a better 'person' than Eddie) prior to the Japanese accident. Did you see Eddie ride that pile 'o crap Cagiva? Eddie didn't win four titles because of a lack of speed that's for certain.

Kenny Sr changed the way the bikes were riden.

Both are way underrated in your list, but good to see recogintion of truly great talents.


I can't make everyone happy, that's for sure. But the fact is that Lawson was pretty damn good, the only thing is that I don't believe he would have had the outright speed to challenge a Doohan or Rossi at their prime. It would've been difficult having him ahead of Surtees and Hailwood as well, after what they did in a short space of time, and in fact I compared him to them. The fact that Rainey eventually goes ahead of Lawson is the fact that in the races Lawson contested during the 1990 season together, Rainey scored more points. The top 15 are from another planet, so it feels strange putting Roberts, Duke and such so low, but the level at the very top of road racing has always been frightenly high. I admire them all.

#4 Lazarus II

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Posted 23 January 2010 - 17:17

I can't make everyone happy, that's for sure. But the fact is that Lawson was pretty damn good, the only thing is that I don't believe he would have had the outright speed to challenge a Doohan or Rossi at their prime. It would've been difficult having him ahead of Surtees and Hailwood as well, after what they did in a short space of time, and in fact I compared him to them. The fact that Rainey eventually goes ahead of Lawson is the fact that in the races Lawson contested during the 1990 season together, Rainey scored more points. The top 15 are from another planet, so it feels strange putting Roberts, Duke and such so low, but the level at the very top of road racing has always been frightenly high. I admire them all.

I know for a fact that Eddie was contracted #1 choice of engines/tires. When he came back from his Japan accident he [cough, cough, snivle, whine] allowed Wayne to continue to have #1 choice because Wayne was in a battle for the championship. The guy could barely walk. The reason Wayne outscored him was that accident where Eddie broke (shattered) both heals, otherwise Eddie would have beat him like all his other teammates.

All that means nothing really, because you cannot compare the different generations. Who's to say that Hailwood would not be dominant or be dominated on todays bikes? Kenny Sr changed the way we all ride bikes, but what would he do with todays bikes (and youth back of course)? They were all great with the machinery that they were given at the respective times. :up:

#5 Risil

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Posted 23 January 2010 - 17:22

Doohan ahead of Roberts and Surtees? The level of competition wasn't that high when he was winning his titles either. Only 8 or 9 competitive bikes, and the best British and American (Roberts Jr excepted) riders were elsewhere. Puig, Criville, Barros, Okada were good but not really exceptional. Abe probably never got over his preternatural instincts for motorcycling. Beattie, Russell and Kocinski might've challenged given time, but their opportunities to challenge Doohan were very limited. Not that I'm saying Doohan shouldn't be top 5, just pointing out how little evidence there can be to support any ranking. Your gut has good judgement though. :)

If we're including riders like Saarinen and Biaggi who had most of their success outside of 500GP, I nominate Joey Dunlop, Carl Fogarty, Cal Rayborn and Jean-Michel Bayle. :D

Edited by Risil, 23 January 2010 - 17:29.


#6 jeze

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Posted 23 January 2010 - 18:23

Doohan ahead of Roberts and Surtees? The level of competition wasn't that high when he was winning his titles either. Only 8 or 9 competitive bikes, and the best British and American (Roberts Jr excepted) riders were elsewhere. Puig, Criville, Barros, Okada were good but not really exceptional. Abe probably never got over his preternatural instincts for motorcycling. Beattie, Russell and Kocinski might've challenged given time, but their opportunities to challenge Doohan were very limited. Not that I'm saying Doohan shouldn't be top 5, just pointing out how little evidence there can be to support any ranking. Your gut has good judgement though. :)

If we're including riders like Saarinen and Biaggi who had most of their success outside of 500GP, I nominate Joey Dunlop, Carl Fogarty, Cal Rayborn and Jean-Michel Bayle. :D


The point is that neither of those (I don't know that much about Rayborn at all to be honest :eek: ) stood on the poidum in 500GP. Fogarty would've been awesome on a competitive bike in the late 90's. I have no idea how good he would have been, but I don't think he'd been a match for Doohan.

#7 THE "driverider"

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Posted 23 January 2010 - 20:34

1. Giacomo Agostini
2. Valentino Rossi
3. Mike Hailwood
4. Mick Doohan
5. Eddie Lawson
6. John Surtees
7. Kenny Roberts
8. Wayne Rainey
9. Casey Stoner
10. Barry Sheene
11. Geoff Duke
12. Freddie Spencer
13. Phil Read
14. Kevin Schwantz
15. Wayne Gardner
16. Gary Hocking
17. Randy Mamola
18. Jarno Saarinen
19. Umberto Masetti
20. Jorge Lorenzo

Special mention to Kim Newcombe and Carl Fogarty who would have made it if they had more GPs under their belt.

Edited by THE "driverider", 23 January 2010 - 20:35.


#8 juicy sushi

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Posted 23 January 2010 - 20:55

As others have said, Roberts changed the way motorcycles are ridden, and changed the way the sport was run, I think I'd put him in the top 3, if not the top, on that basis alone. On sheer talent, he might not have been the absolute best, but he in a sense started the modern era of GP riders and riding.

It's very hard to pick between different eras, but I think I'd say the late 80s and early 90s may have been the peak in terms of the amount of talent on the grid, and the quality of rides that talent had access to, so I think that their achievements as a group are more impressive (making my one and two Lawson and Rainey), but really, the best in any era always have been frighteningly good. I think though that those 170hp 2-stroke 500s might just make that era shine brightest, because those bikes were just so utterly nasty.

#9 Atreiu

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Posted 23 January 2010 - 21:48

I haven't been watching for long enough, but I think it's hard to get through Hailwood, Agostini, Rossi and Doohan in the top four.

Stoner has the potential to write hiw own records, 2007 wasn't a blip. But I just have this feeling he'll depart the padock much earlier than we all expect simply because he can't take the PR side of the job.

#10 jeze

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Posted 23 January 2010 - 21:53

I haven't been watching for long enough, but I think it's hard to get through Hailwood, Agostini, Rossi and Doohan in the top four.

Stoner has the potential to write hiw own records, 2007 wasn't a blip. But I just have this feeling he'll depart the padock much earlier than we all expect simply because he can't take the PR side of the job.


I think it's just bullshit that he sucks at PR, he just doesn't enjoy it, but I still think he does it pretty well. If he keeps on racing until 32, I'm pretty sure he'll rack up 50 wins and three titles.

#11 Atreiu

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Posted 23 January 2010 - 22:05

I don't think he sucks at it, he looked a happy man at Wrooom these days.
I just think he hates it with his guts and won't take any bit more than he can't avoid.

As for talent pool and grid strenght, I don't think the current grid lacks anything to any grid anytime.

#12 jeze

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Posted 24 January 2010 - 17:46

Any more two-wheel fans having opinions?
:clap:

#13 Risil

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Posted 24 January 2010 - 18:15

The big turning point seems to come in 1978-80, when the Americans start to dominate Grand Prix racing. Aside from honorary Englishman Wayne Gardner (;) ) bike racing remained North American until Doohan and some European small-capacity riders began to rule the roost. It almost makes more sense to regard motorcycle Grand Prix as two separate championships. Indeed, Jeze at some level has: Sheene's opposition was 'hardly benchmark', and John Surtees's rivals weren't 'that great'. As if because the Americans still saw Daytona and Springfield as the epicentres of bike competition, the Grand Prix series was of lesser mettle. Maybe he's right, but if you voiced the opinion in an F1 thread, that Grand Prix car racing is less prestigious because it's largely ignored by Americans, you get a decidedly frosty reception... :lol:

Funny, a lot of racing series seem to be thought to have changed decisively in the years 1977-1982. Indycar splits with USAC, admits road courses; NASCAR gains a nationwide audience; Bernie takes over the FIA; Group C/GTP changes sportscar racing. And some bloke called Reagan was made President and there was a revolution in Iran or somewhere, but those are minor details.

#14 cheapracer

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Posted 24 January 2010 - 19:03

Any more two-wheel fans having opinions?
:clap:


Sure.

Absolutely convinced that I was wrong some years ago, which makes you and some others wrong in believing that Doohan's opposition wasn't up to scratch.

He was in it for too many years and against too many of the best to waffle that off, he was simply superior to the other riders to a point that it made the others look slow and became boring. Doohan not only mastered the 500's he also turned the 500's into rideable bikes.

Kenny Roberts was a bit in the same boat, he turned up and often thrashed the Europeans on tracks he had never seen before and whats more he hadn't raced in the rain either. He won the title the first year to boot as well as others and never stopped winning until his retirement.

Its a tuff top 3 so I have to have a top 4 but most historians would put Roberts in the top 3.

The reason I continue to place Ago above the others, Rossi being the obvious, is that he also won the Isle of Man heaps of times and at Nurburgring - something that modern riders can't or won't dare emulate not to mention changing to 2 strokes and continuing to win, mocking those scoffing his victories because of his MV Augusta.

1. Giacomo Agostini
2. Valentino Rossi
3. Kenny Roberts
3. Mick Doohan



#15 juicy sushi

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Posted 24 January 2010 - 21:21

The big turning point seems to come in 1978-80, when the Americans start to dominate Grand Prix racing. Aside from honorary Englishman Wayne Gardner (;) ) bike racing remained North American until Doohan and some European small-capacity riders began to rule the roost. It almost makes more sense to regard motorcycle Grand Prix as two separate championships. Indeed, Jeze at some level has: Sheene's opposition was 'hardly benchmark', and John Surtees's rivals weren't 'that great'. As if because the Americans still saw Daytona and Springfield as the epicentres of bike competition, the Grand Prix series was of lesser mettle. Maybe he's right, but if you voiced the opinion in an F1 thread, that Grand Prix car racing is less prestigious because it's largely ignored by Americans, you get a decidedly frosty reception... :lol:

I think that may have been down to pay levels. Grand Prix racing didn't pay well, whereas you could make a living racing on the US dirt-track scene. That changed with Roberts and the entry of the Japanese factories en mass. Before that point, there was little incentive to go to Europe, but after Roberts went and created a lucrative path to follow, the American talent changed direction and dirt-track withered on the vine as American talent went road racing with dreams of GPs. Having a riding style tailor-made of the quirks of two-stroke 500s didn't hurt either...


#16 Just waiting

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Posted 25 January 2010 - 14:24

I think that may have been down to pay levels. Grand Prix racing didn't pay well, whereas you could make a living racing on the US dirt-track scene. That changed with Roberts and the entry of the Japanese factories en mass. Before that point, there was little incentive to go to Europe, but after Roberts went and created a lucrative path to follow, the American talent changed direction and dirt-track withered on the vine as American talent went road racing with dreams of GPs. Having a riding style tailor-made of the quirks of two-stroke 500s didn't hurt either...

True, very true.

And these guys were using stuff they had learned on dirt tracks to ride faster than the guys in Europe.

Mick Doohan is hard to actually put in a spot. One could say he was only average and deserves no better than about 15 or 20 on the list because his competition just was not up to standards faced by riders of the other years.

Or one could say that it was because he was sooo good, that he made the rest look less than average, such that it skews the perception of his abilities (ie that he had no real competition because the other riders were not very good), when the truth is that it is not a question of a lack of competition from the others, but his talent so dominated the field, a field that actually had a lot of talent and as much as any of the other years, that he was an all-time great.

I think the latter to be true. :up:

Unfortunately, in motogp, the bikes are following the path of F1, where bike tech is becoming so much more important than the riders' abilities.

Why I preferred the 500 two strokes is that the machinery was pretty even and it was up to the rider to do it.......so Doohan had to have had massive talent to do what he did.

so if anything, if they were still running two strokes, I think Rossi (if he had stayed at Honda) would be overwhelmingly dominant, but the machinery just produces different results now with Stoner, Hayden, Rossi and so forth.

But as to the best, Roberts, Lawson, Rainey set standards in terms of rider ability controlling the machine that was way beyond any that went before, such that listing Gardner, Surtees, and even Ago, as close to them is based on sentiment rather than reality.

And I would add to the list, somewhere in the mix with Roberts, Rainey and Lawson, the names of Doohan and Rossi, as the group of top 5 riders of all time.



#17 craftverk

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Posted 25 January 2010 - 14:34

Mick Doohan is hard to actually put in a spot. One could say he was only average and deserves no better than about 15 or 20 on the list because his competition just was not up to standards faced by riders of the other years.

but then that argument can be used against Rossi pre 2006 when he only really had Biaggi and Gibernau, and now with the 800cc era being heavily influenced by the bike you ride with the Yamaha being without doubt the best bike out there

#18 Atreiu

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Posted 25 January 2010 - 14:35

Doohan had no problem with tough competition. He would have walked over both Schwantz and Rainey already in 1992 had he not been so unlucky with his crash at Assen, and he was already proving his worth against them in 1990 and 1991.

#19 Lifew12

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Posted 25 January 2010 - 14:57

When I was about eight I got up one morning to find Giacomo Agostini and Phil Read downstairs playing with my train set. My one and only claim to fame.

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#20 juicy sushi

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Posted 25 January 2010 - 15:16

Doohan had no problem with tough competition. He would have walked over both Schwantz and Rainey already in 1992 had he not been so unlucky with his crash at Assen, and he was already proving his worth against them in 1990 and 1991.

He proved he was equal, but I think 'walked over' is a bit too strong there. He was a little younger and hungrier than they were (and Schwantz was certainly in decline through injuries), but does that make him better than they were at their peak? I don't think we can answer that one. I don't think that any of his subsequent competitors were at that level though.

I think that if the series was still on the 500 two strokes then the results wouldn't change all that much, as the bikes were certainly becoming easier bvy 2000 than they were during the late 80s and early 90s (pre-'Big Bang'). However, I think Nicky Hayden may have been a bit more prominent in the results, as if there was any current rider who would clearly be more comfortable on a 500, he's the one (he was definitely born about 15 years too late).

#21 jeze

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Posted 25 January 2010 - 15:39

He proved he was equal, but I think 'walked over' is a bit too strong there. He was a little younger and hungrier than they were (and Schwantz was certainly in decline through injuries), but does that make him better than they were at their peak? I don't think we can answer that one. I don't think that any of his subsequent competitors were at that level though.

I think that if the series was still on the 500 two strokes then the results wouldn't change all that much, as the bikes were certainly becoming easier bvy 2000 than they were during the late 80s and early 90s (pre-'Big Bang'). However, I think Nicky Hayden may have been a bit more prominent in the results, as if there was any current rider who would clearly be more comfortable on a 500, he's the one (he was definitely born about 15 years too late).


Schwantz had his best year in 1993, so which decline :confused:

#22 Risil

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Posted 25 January 2010 - 16:00

Schwantz had his best year in 1993, so which decline :confused:


I always imagined his best period to be 1987-1989. In 1993 his bike was newly competitive, but he wasn't too far ahead of Barros, just like he wasn't clearly superior to Chandler in '92... 1993 was a very strange season; the only three riders who were capable of winning a championship were injured for a lot of the year. Doohan couldn't really walk at any point during the season, Schwantz was only really able to ride for points after the Esses-melee at Donington, and Rainey's Grand Prix career was brought to an end with three rounds to go.

Of course, using the rapid decline of Doohan's rivals to mitigate against his talent is about as valid as holding it against Valentino Rossi for not making it onto the big bikes before Mick's premature retirement.

#23 Atreiu

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Posted 25 January 2010 - 16:04

Rainey crashed into retirement and Doohan was still recovering, I don't think 1993 can stand as a benchmark 500cc season. Anyhow, they were all great and have wins and titles to make up for it.

Hayden definitely was the rider to lose the most with the switch to 800cc.



#24 cheapracer

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Posted 25 January 2010 - 16:14

He proved he was equal, but I think 'walked over' is a bit too strong there. He was a little younger and hungrier than they were (and Schwantz was certainly in decline through injuries), but does that make him better than they were at their peak? I don't think we can answer that one.


Mate I saw Doohan a few times at our club meetings (same club, Gold Coast Queensland Oz) and he always attended when he was home and I saw his leg and the fact he ever rode again was amazing. Funny a Mate of mine I raced MX against nearly lost his leg too (car, red light, sided him) and Doohan spotted him at a meeting comes over and started comparing how much ooze comes out etc. to the disgust of everyone :lol:

Anyway, he was walking all over Rainey (relative, Rainey was also awesome) and Schwantz in '92 before the crash, 4 on the trot, the Suzuki had about a million more horsepower at Monza where that counts so he got 2nd, dead tie with Rainey for the next and then the next race was so far ahead no one could believe it - half minute win in those days was something else.

Then he crashed and wrecked his leg, he had a massive points lead at that time. In 93 he had to learn to ride in a completely different style and with a rear handbrake because his foot doesn't bend properly and as he realised he couldn't win the '93 champs he concentrated on bike development for his attack in '94 and then grabbed the next 5 years straight.

He was simply and purely better and faster.

from Wiki

Despite up to eight rivals on almost identical Honda motorcycles Doohan's margin of superiority over them was such that in many races Doohan would build a comfortable lead and then ride well within his limits to cruise to victory. Although pure riding skill clearly played a large part in his success, his ability to perfect the suspension and geometry of a racing motorcycle gave him an enormous advantage over his rivals, even though other Honda riders (particularly Doohan's teammates) benefited somewhat from his ability to perfect the bike's handling. It is generally accepted that his development of the Honda throughout the 1990s helped the company to dominate racing for many years. At the time of Doohan's retirement, the Honda had developed into a much better handling machine than it had ever been previously.



#25 Risil

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Posted 25 January 2010 - 16:25

Anyway, he was walking all over Rainey (relative, Rainey was also awesome) and Schwantz in '92 before the crash, 4 on the trot, the Suzuki had about a million more horsepower at Monza where that counts so he got 2nd, dead tie with Rainey for the next and then the next race was so far ahead no one could believe it - half minute win in those days was something else.


Doohan won at Hockenheim by a mile though.

He was simply and purely better and faster.


Not that I'm questioning that, at least from 1992 onwards, but I found it interesting in 1995 how often Daryl Beattie was able to keep pace with Doohan and pressurise him into a mistake. Fightings for wins, or winning by stealth, were anathema to Doohan. He just wanted to disappear into the distance, and totally dominate the field. When he couldn't do that he looked, well, he looked almost mortal.;)

#26 mstar

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Posted 26 January 2010 - 13:35

casey is a bit to high for my opinion, can he win on another bike? thats what we want to see. Casey needs to be lower IMO
and why is Lorenzo at position 20????????????????????? WTF :rotfl:

Edited by mstar, 26 January 2010 - 13:36.


#27 Just waiting

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Posted 26 January 2010 - 14:21

QUOTE (Just waiting @ Jan 25 2010, 14:24)
Mick Doohan is hard to actually put in a spot. One could say he was only average and deserves no better than about 15 or 20 on the list because his competition just was not up to standards faced by riders of the other years.



but then that argument can be used against Rossi pre 2006 when he only really had Biaggi and Gibernau, and now with the 800cc era being heavily influenced by the bike you ride with the Yamaha being without doubt the best bike out there

Please note the second paragraph and third paragraph beneath the quote where I voice (and adopt) the alternative opinion that Doohan was "soo good", he made it look like the field was not competitive, when in fact, it was as competitive as ever. Same for Rossi pre 2006.

What impresses me most about Rossi is that he won like crazy on two strokes, and then won like crazy on four strokes

A rider that can make everyone else look below average when the series obviously has very talented riders, well, that says it all as to that rider's talent

Edited by Just waiting, 26 January 2010 - 14:23.


#28 Risil

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Posted 26 January 2010 - 17:16

casey is a bit to high for my opinion, can he win on another bike? thats what we want to see. Casey needs to be lower IMO
and why is Lorenzo at position 20????????????????????? WTF :rotfl:


Well said. :rolleyes:

If Kenny Roberts only won on a Yamaha, does that make him too high? Or Kevin Schwantz on a Suzuki? Anyhow, Casey won numerous Grands Prix on an Aprilia 250.

#29 fil2.8

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Posted 26 January 2010 - 17:56

Well , guys , from all your comments I guess most of you never saw racing much before the early ' 80's ??
Thought not . Well , I have witnessed top - class racing since 1965 and have seen most of the ' greats ' and seen most of the bikes , and a lot of the tracks from that era until now . Yes , a lot of the riders from the last 10 - 15 years are good , but most , i'm afraid could'nt hold a candle to riders from the ' old -times ' for various reasons
# 1 --they only do 1 race a day
#2 -- they only do ' Moto -GP 's
# 3 -- the tracks are now geared for safety

I think you will find that Mike Hailwood stands head and shoulders above all , followed by a whole host , including Rossi , Read , Redman , Roberts , Lawson , Mang , Nieto , Saarinen , Simmonds , Duke , Anderson , Surtees and Ballington
I've probably missed out a few ' names ' :blush:

#30 Atreiu

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Posted 26 January 2010 - 18:25

If tracks not being geared for saftey counts, does it count that today's bikes are faster than anything else? No matter how safe the tracks have become, the bikes will still bite, fight back and hurt you if you allow them. Just ask Lorenzo.

#31 fil2.8

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Posted 26 January 2010 - 18:54

If tracks not being geared for saftey counts, does it count that today's bikes are faster than anything else? No matter how safe the tracks have become, the bikes will still bite, fight back and hurt you if you allow them. Just ask Lorenzo.


The bikes are also considerably safer also , traction control , better suspension , slick tyres , much wider tyres , better brakes
Plus , also , rider protection is miles better now .
Don't forget the 500's from 50 odd years ago were good for about 170 odd mph

#32 GoShow

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Posted 26 January 2010 - 19:08

Well , guys , from all your comments I guess most of you never saw racing much before the early ' 80's ??
Thought not . Well , I have witnessed top - class racing since 1965 and have seen most of the ' greats ' and seen most of the bikes , and a lot of the tracks from that era until now . Yes , a lot of the riders from the last 10 - 15 years are good , but most , i'm afraid could'nt hold a candle to riders from the ' old -times ' for various reasons
# 1 --they only do 1 race a day
#2 -- they only do ' Moto -GP 's
# 3 -- the tracks are now geared for safety

I think you will find that Mike Hailwood stands head and shoulders above all , followed by a whole host , including Rossi , Read , Redman , Roberts , Lawson , Mang , Nieto , Saarinen , Simmonds , Duke , Anderson , Surtees and Ballington
I've probably missed out a few ' names ' :blush:


You're right. Hailwood is a true legend! In my opinion Hailwood and Agostini should be above Rossi, because they have won at the Isle of Man TT, the hardest track in de world. Beside that they also won multiple World Championships while riding in different classes on the same day.

#33 Patriot

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Posted 27 January 2010 - 11:23

Michael Doohan all the way

remember, he was practically an invalid

Edited by Patriot, 27 January 2010 - 11:23.


#34 ViMaMo

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Posted 27 January 2010 - 12:21

Alex Creville rattled Doohan. Jorge shouldnt be there.

Doohan wasnt better than Rainey.

Edited by vivian, 27 January 2010 - 12:22.


#35 juicy sushi

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Posted 27 January 2010 - 15:16

Well , guys , from all your comments I guess most of you never saw racing much before the early ' 80's ??
Thought not . Well , I have witnessed top - class racing since 1965 and have seen most of the ' greats ' and seen most of the bikes , and a lot of the tracks from that era until now . Yes , a lot of the riders from the last 10 - 15 years are good , but most , i'm afraid could'nt hold a candle to riders from the ' old -times ' for various reasons
# 1 --they only do 1 race a day
#2 -- they only do ' Moto -GP 's
# 3 -- the tracks are now geared for safety

I think you will find that Mike Hailwood stands head and shoulders above all , followed by a whole host , including Rossi , Read , Redman , Roberts , Lawson , Mang , Nieto , Saarinen , Simmonds , Duke , Anderson , Surtees and Ballington
I've probably missed out a few ' names ' :blush:

I think I'm going to have to disagree with this for a couple of reasons. First, they ride a lot more phyiscally demanding machinery than back in the 1960s, and it was hardly a smart idea to be doing so many races as they did back then anyway. I seem to remember some riders mentioning how they frequently nearly crashed on the big bikes due to being so exhausted through racing the minor races beforehand. I think your second point is the same as the first, yes, they only do one race, but it's the main event on bikes which are much more physically demanding. It's one thing to ride a 70hp MV Agusta on bicycle tires around a mountain road while allowing a margin for safety (which is what they did), it's another thing to tear around on a two-stroke 500 on the very limit of what the tires and brakes can take, while the bike tries to highside you.

I'm not saying the old days were easy, I'm saying that I feel the modern bikes are a more physically demanding, and more of a challenge to ride quickly.

And on the last point about safety. You can still kill yourself, so it isn't a safe sport, and it's not the fault of modern riders that those in the old days were too stupid to demand greater safety. It took Jackie Stewart and Kenny Roberts to demand some proper pay and proper attention to safety, which meant that riders were no longer regularly offing themselves for public amusement, and weren't riding every race and class possible to escape the poverty of the poor wages they were paid.

This is just my opinion, but I don't think that riding stone age bikes around death traps for essentially public amusement and minimal pay makes someone better. I think the challenge was greater at a different time. That's not to say I don't respect the old riders, but I do think that worshipping them for riding in deplorable conditions isn't sound logic.

Edited by juicy sushi, 27 January 2010 - 15:18.


#36 Hairpin

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Posted 27 January 2010 - 16:33

Funny to read all the arguments and agree with almost all of them, in spite them being contradictory :)
Comparing todays MotoGP with the motorcycle racing 25 years ago or more is almost like comparing completely different sports. Mike Hailwood, Agostini and all guys from that time sure was good riders, but guts mattered a lot more at that time than it does now. I do not mean that todays riders does not have guts, they probably have just as much as those in the old days, what I mean is that back then very very few even got close to the limits of the machine. Those bikes did not talk to the riders as todays machines does and you needed to leave much more rooms for errors. Leaving a bit less room and you were quicker than the others. Now they all drive much closer to the limit than Mike Hailwood and John Surtees ever did but not because they are braver, not because they are more talented, they do it because the limit is defined. It is almost visible.

It would have been fun had Colin Edwards stayed on as a team mate with Rossi. Fun to see how the relative distance between them would have changed when electronics improved. My guess is that we would have though "Damn, Edwards is getting better, he might beat Rossi one day". The machines is the big differentiator nowadays. Yesterday it was the man.

I will not make a list, they are all Gods.



#37 ZenSpeed

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Posted 27 January 2010 - 16:45

I think you will find that Mike Hailwood stands head and shoulders above all , followed by a whole host , including Rossi , Read , Redman , Roberts , Lawson , Mang , Nieto , Saarinen , Simmonds , Duke , Anderson , Surtees and Ballington
I've probably missed out a few ' names ' :blush:

Agostini comes to mind...... :rolleyes:

#38 ZenSpeed

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Posted 28 January 2010 - 02:20

Valentino over everyone, no discussion about it. Both Agostini and Hailwood were awesome in their eras, but Valentino races in a way they couldn't even imagine. 125, 250, 500, MotoGP, give him a bike, he will be World Champion. Everyone else comes after him.

On top of his skills as a racer, nobody ever rocked the world of motor racing like him: blowup sex dolls, Robin Hood, traffic police giving him a ticket, poultry store sponsorships, notary giving validity to his title....the kid is has the same bloody irreverence of when he started even now that he is a star. The Doctor has no rivals

#39 Russell Burrows

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Posted 28 January 2010 - 10:33

I think I'm going to have to disagree with this for a couple of reasons. First, they ride a lot more phyiscally demanding machinery than back in the 1960s, and it was hardly a smart idea to be doing so many races as they did back then anyway. I seem to remember some riders mentioning how they frequently nearly crashed on the big bikes due to being so exhausted through racing the minor races beforehand. I think your second point is the same as the first, yes, they only do one race, but it's the main event on bikes which are much more physically demanding. It's one thing to ride a 70hp MV Agusta on bicycle tires around a mountain road while allowing a margin for safety (which is what they did), it's another thing to tear around on a two-stroke 500 on the very limit of what the tires and brakes can take, while the bike tries to highside you.

I'm not saying the old days were easy, I'm saying that I feel the modern bikes are a more physically demanding, and more of a challenge to ride quickly.

And on the last point about safety. You can still kill yourself, so it isn't a safe sport, and it's not the fault of modern riders that those in the old days were too stupid to demand greater safety. It took Jackie Stewart and Kenny Roberts to demand some proper pay and proper attention to safety, which meant that riders were no longer regularly offing themselves for public amusement, and weren't riding every race and class possible to escape the poverty of the poor wages they were paid.

This is just my opinion, but I don't think that riding stone age bikes around death traps for essentially public amusement and minimal pay makes someone better. I think the challenge was greater at a different time. That's not to say I don't respect the old riders, but I do think that worshipping them for riding in deplorable conditions isn't sound logic.

Jackie Stewart assisted in the push for greater safety for bike racers......Jesus. Do the research, son.


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#40 fil2.8

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Posted 28 January 2010 - 10:57

I think I'm going to have to disagree with this for a couple of reasons. First, they ride a lot more phyiscally demanding machinery than back in the 1960s, and it was hardly a smart idea to be doing so many races as they did back then anyway. I seem to remember some riders mentioning how they frequently nearly crashed on the big bikes due to being so exhausted through racing the minor races beforehand. I think your second point is the same as the first, yes, they only do one race, but it's the main event on bikes which are much more physically demanding. It's one thing to ride a 70hp MV Agusta on bicycle tires around a mountain road while allowing a margin for safety (which is what they did), it's another thing to tear around on a two-stroke 500 on the very limit of what the tires and brakes can take, while the bike tries to highside you.

I'm not saying the old days were easy, I'm saying that I feel the modern bikes are a more physically demanding, and more of a challenge to ride quickly.

And on the last point about safety. You can still kill yourself, so it isn't a safe sport, and it's not the fault of modern riders that those in the old days were too stupid to demand greater safety. It took Jackie Stewart and Kenny Roberts to demand some proper pay and proper attention to safety, which meant that riders were no longer regularly offing themselves for public amusement, and weren't riding every race and class possible to escape the poverty of the poor wages they were paid.

This is just my opinion, but I don't think that riding stone age bikes around death traps for essentially public amusement and minimal pay makes someone better. I think the challenge was greater at a different time. That's not to say I don't respect the old riders, but I do think that worshipping them for riding in deplorable conditions isn't sound logic.


Well , I don't know how you came to the conclusion that riding racing machines now is more phyiscally demanding than in past times , I cannot remember seeing a rider finishing a race having to be lifted off his bike , or his hands covered in blisters recently .
I was lucky enough to be standing on the banking in the Glen Helen section of the IOM TT for the Senior of '67 and I can tell you that when Mike Hailwood came through he was STANDING , wrestling the bike , a evil - handling 95 bhp Honda 4 into submission , breaking the lap record at 108.77 , and winning , after a titannic battle with Ago , after Ago's chain broke . And i'm afraid you are way off beam about racing many races . They raced mainly , because they wanted to , and it was there job !!! You see until I guess the early to mid '80's most riders were privateers , without the sponsor-ship they all have now . I personally have been involved with a few riders over the years , and indeed , I still am , sponsoring 1 rider .
Right , safety , you mentioned Jackie Stewart , well he might have been a friend of the 4 wheel brigade , but was the complete opposite to the bikers , the armco he insisted on throwing riders back onto the track off the unprotected metal .
I never used to consider riders of the old days when I was younger , but now older , and hopefully wiser , stand in awe of riders of the early machines , like Jimmy Simpson , the 1st to lap the IOM at 60 then 70 then 80 mph . Freddie Frith , through to Harold Daniel , Walter Rusk plus all the wonderful riders from around the world on equally wonderful machines , which were as up to date in their era as they are now I suggest !!!
I think you ought to do some research , about past times and then perhaps modify your outlook and comments .

#41 rolf123

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Posted 28 January 2010 - 13:47

Doohan's final years reminded me of Prost's last year in F1 or some of Schumi's later WCs. Dominant and cruising. Boring, frankly.

Now compare that to Rossi, the man never gives up. He has psychologically destroyed all of the pretenders to the throne and won several championships in equal or even lesser machinery. His accomplishments are greater than Schumi's IMO. And what about the overtakes that he has done? Find me another person in all of motorsport who can equal his overtakes?

As for Rainey going out at the top, correct me if I'm wrong but wasn't he pretty much past his peak anyway?

Edited by rolf123, 28 January 2010 - 13:51.


#42 Risil

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Posted 28 January 2010 - 14:54

As for Rainey going out at the top, correct me if I'm wrong but wasn't he pretty much past his peak anyway?


No.


#43 Atreiu

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Posted 28 January 2010 - 14:55

Off-topic: You mentioned overtaking... I have no idea if Simonceli will ever make it into such a list, but I can't wait to see him fighting for position with Rossi.

On-topic: we still need someone to do the Moto GP ancd WSBK double. Imagine if Spies pulls it off.

:)

#44 juicy sushi

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Posted 28 January 2010 - 14:55

Jackie Stewart assisted in the push for greater safety for bike racers......Jesus. Do the research, son.

No, I know he didn't. But he was the first rider or driver in the post-war era to take a strong stand and create any kind of change. On the motorcycling side others followed that lead, but he was still the first, on two wheels or four, to actually demand action and get results.

#45 juicy sushi

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Posted 28 January 2010 - 15:08

Well , I don't know how you came to the conclusion that riding racing machines now is more phyiscally demanding than in past times , I cannot remember seeing a rider finishing a race having to be lifted off his bike , or his hands covered in blisters recently .
I was lucky enough to be standing on the banking in the Glen Helen section of the IOM TT for the Senior of '67 and I can tell you that when Mike Hailwood came through he was STANDING , wrestling the bike , a evil - handling 95 bhp Honda 4 into submission , breaking the lap record at 108.77 , and winning , after a titannic battle with Ago , after Ago's chain broke . And i'm afraid you are way off beam about racing many races . They raced mainly , because they wanted to , and it was there job !!! You see until I guess the early to mid '80's most riders were privateers , without the sponsor-ship they all have now . I personally have been involved with a few riders over the years , and indeed , I still am , sponsoring 1 rider .
Right , safety , you mentioned Jackie Stewart , well he might have been a friend of the 4 wheel brigade , but was the complete opposite to the bikers , the armco he insisted on throwing riders back onto the track off the unprotected metal .
I never used to consider riders of the old days when I was younger , but now older , and hopefully wiser , stand in awe of riders of the early machines , like Jimmy Simpson , the 1st to lap the IOM at 60 then 70 then 80 mph . Freddie Frith , through to Harold Daniel , Walter Rusk plus all the wonderful riders from around the world on equally wonderful machines , which were as up to date in their era as they are now I suggest !!!
I think you ought to do some research , about past times and then perhaps modify your outlook and comments .

I think I'll stand on most of them actually. The bikes now accelerate harder, brake harder and corner harder, which doesn't make things easier. The riders today are fitter than in the past, and I think show less strain as a result.

Yes, armco didn't help riders, but my point was that until Stewart, there had been basically nothing done on safety at all. Until riders followed that lead and began making demands of their own, things didn't improve. I don't think that riding under less safe conditions makes one a better rider, so I feel that the trope given (both on four wheels and two) that the talent was higher when the risks were higher just doesn't wash.

I'm not calling the old riders untalented, but I do not belive that worship of them for riding poorly designed machines around unsafe tracks is a valid argument. I feel the bikes were tougher in the late 80s and early 90s to ride, and the pace got a lot faster in the modern era. As a result, I think that those riders showed greater talent in terms of actual bike control and riding skills, in order to succeed in those conditions.

#46 Risil

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Posted 28 January 2010 - 16:10

I'm not calling the old riders untalented, but I do not belive that worship of them for riding poorly designed machines around unsafe tracks is a valid argument. I feel the bikes were tougher in the late 80s and early 90s to ride, and the pace got a lot faster in the modern era. As a result, I think that those riders showed greater talent in terms of actual bike control and riding skills, in order to succeed in those conditions.


A couple of points: it was the improvement in tyre technology that to a great extent allowed to bikes to get a lot faster from the late-'70s onwards. Kenny Roberts was the first rider to really get a handle on them. But by the same token a sub-100 horsepower motorcycle on skinny, inefficient tyres was not easier to ride, simply because the acceleration and braking were less extreme. Things like arm-pump and carpal tunnel syndrome, extreme physical conditions that have effected riders in the modern era, are not the only measure of physiological duress. Top-level motocross is a tougher, more physically demanding sport than MotoGP -- in fact it's probably the most physically demanding sport in existence -- and yet they don't get to very high speeds in a straight line or in the corners.

Which brings me to the second point: the circuits. The unsafety of them in the past is possibly overstated -- if anything they got a lot more dangerous after Jackie Stewart brought armco and catch-fencing to track owners too stingy to take them down when the bikes showed up. Racing a bike on a public road -- as was the norm until the mid-1970s when tracks like the Isle of Man, Brno, Imatra, Spa and Opatija began to be taken off the circuit (the new Spa came back, and riders still hated it) -- is very different than on a purpose-built circuit. The changes in racing surface (IIRC Opatija went over tram tracks; the IOM has bloody humpback bridges), and most importantly the crown in the road whose first purpose was everyday usage, made each corner -- each segment of a corner -- a different challenge for rider and suspension alike. Only in Assen, the 'safest' (and most profitable) of public road circuits not least due to the flat, rural, peat-deposited landscape of Drenthe, did the 'real' road racing tradition continue. But, as you point out, the way you rode a 500 changed so much in the 1980s, that the character of Assen changed fundamentally. As Mick Doohan pointed out in 1995, one no longer rode the surface, feeling out the nuances of each bump and crown in the road -- the power was too brutal, the tyres too prone to disastrously losing traction. You just ignored it, and hoped that whatever the chassis threw at you, your body could absorb. It was more an exercise in blind luck than true skill.

Motorcycle racing in the long ago past wasn't easier -- the goalposts were someplace else. Undoubtedly riding around Silverstone or Sepang would've been less of a challenge on an MV Agusta or RC181, than on a modern Yamaha M1 or Desmosedici. And undoubtedly riding around Jarama, Hockenheim or Le Mans wasn't a thrilling test of man and machine for Agostini any more than it was for Doohan or Fogarty.

#47 Russell Burrows

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Posted 01 February 2010 - 11:33

I don't know enough about racing after about 1980 to make any sensible comparison. My ranking of the earlier post-war blokes:

Duke /Hailwood
Saarinen
Roberts
Hocking
Read
Agostini
McIntyre
Surtees
Amm
Sheene
Minter
Ivy

:smoking:


Edited by Russell Burrows, 01 February 2010 - 11:48.