Motorcycle racing has produced some of the most amazing machines, the SBK Championship in particular has given us some amazing street legal machines, but nothing really compares to MotoGP’s bespoke racing machines.
All of them, designed from the ground up to win races and literally nothing else. Their development, always surrounded by secrecy with the aim of surpassing the opposition for this season. That mystery and their resolute nature is what makes them unmistakably cool, with a theatricality about them that no special homologation can conjure up.
These are the coolest MotoGP bikes ever made, most of which are pure unobtanium, only a few have even been officially released to the public with limited production runs.
All eyes were on Honda in the early 2000s after a long period of domination with their two-stroke machines, no one could say for sure how they would enter the new four-stroke era.
Boy he delivered, the RC211V was a monster and cleaned up for the first couple of years with a young Valentino Rossi leading the charge.
Rossi was once again the center of attention as he made a controversial stint at Yamaha for the 2004 season.
It was widely believed that he was trading a championship for a paycheck, but ultimately proved everyone wrong with this incredible machine that won Yamaha the first riders’ championship in over a decade. Rossi also silenced any critics who doubted his talent as a driver, confirming he could win on any bike.
Ducati Desmosedici GP7
After being associated with the world domination of the SBK Championship, Ducati never really cared about MotoGP until he switched to four-stroke. After some success in their first season, they fell to the back of the pack as they tried and for the most part failed to find their feet.
By 2006 the tide had turned for them, and they were starting to win races, in 2007 they got a new rider named Casey Stoner. He would drive the Desmo in the history books, winning their first and to date the only GP Drivers’ Championship. It was the perfect time for them to win as they released a limited edition road version of this machine, it is still the most accessible MotoGP bike with over 1,500 sold.
The NSR is one of the most successful GP motorcycles in history and entered motorcycle lore after two of history’s most iconic riders rode the motorcycle to the general championship.
Mick Duhan won all of his five cycling titles then, in 2001, he passed the torch to a new superstar; Valentino Rossi.
With the rise of the RC213V, a new era has opened for the sport, an era that would be dominated by Honda and their new champion Marc Marquez. For a time, the combination was untouchable, winning an incredible number of seven constructors ‘titles and six drivers’ championships between 2012 and 2019.
Honda has since inadvertently shown everyone the problem of developing a motorcycle for a single rider, making the motorcycle more or less out of control for anyone other than Marquez. So when he was sidelined for the entire 2020 season and part of the 2021 season, their season also fell on the toilet.
Ducati Desmosedici GP21
No bike has looked as dominant as the latest iteration of the Desmo racing bike, with their four factory riders regularly standing on the podium.
Unfortunately for them, none of their runners managed to string together enough results to win the runners’ title. It must be said that their domination should have brought in more, but for the moment they will have to be satisfied with the constructors’ title.
Few motorcycles are ridden by a single sports legend, the YZR was ridden by four. From the late ’70s to the’ 80s, Yamaha was the team to beat, and they attracted all the top riders.
Most of the other manufacturers were catching up as they dominated with riders like Giacomo Agostini, Kenny Roberts, Eddie Lawson and Wayne Rainey. If you count, he’s the greatest GP driver of all time and three triple world champions.
MV Agusta 500 Three
In the late ’60s and early’ 70s, nothing could come close to the MV Agusta. It was an incredible force to be reckoned with, especially in the hands of a certain Giacomo Agostini.
He may have won a lone title with Yamaha in his Twilight Years, simply to prove that it wasn’t just “the bike,” but his success is closely tied to that of MV Agusta, winning an astounding seven titles with them. It’s fitting that they recently named their retro-inspired runner in his honor.
The range includes the BMW M3, BMW M4 and BMW M5 CS safety cars and the 1000 RR safety bike.
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