As competitive as ever: ‘Fantastic Four’ to 18 winners

The supremacy of Marc Marquez, Lorenzo, Rossi and Pedrosa from 2013-2016 has given way to a wildly unpredictable world championship

Times have changed in MotoGP ™. In the last few seasons we have seen how numerous drivers have won a race in the premier class. One look at the archive is enough to remind us that until five years ago there were completely different things.

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After the departure of two-time MotoGP ™ world champion Casey Stoner, who paved the way for Marc Marquez (Repsol Honda Team) ‘s astonishing rise, a total of 61 Grands Prix were dominated by four riders between 2013 and 2016. It was a dazzling streak that was ended by Jack Miller (Ducati Lenovo Team) on that famous Assen Sunday. And since the Australian’s triumph, 17 more riders have climbed the coveted top step of the podium, most of them for the first time. So the point is clear: MotoGP ™ is more competitive than ever.

The ‘Fantastic 4’ and its stripe from 61

Marc Marquez landed in MotoGP ™ with a huge bang. Everyone knew from the start that we were offered a very, very special talent, and in 2013 the number 93 won the first of its six premier class titles to date. Marquez took six wins over Jorge Lorenzo’s eight, with Dani Pedrosa winning three times. Marquez underpinned his performance in 2013 with 13 wins in 2014 and won the top 10. Five more were to follow in 2015 when Lorenzo and Valentino Rossi faced each other in the title fight. Lorenzo won seven races against Rossi’s four.

Marquez won two more races before Miller finished the streak in 2016, with the now eight-time world champion taking 26 wins in those 61 GPs. Lorenzo came on 20, Rossi on nine and Pedrosa on six. A dominant era for four of the greatest riders we have ever seen to grace our sport.

From Miller’s breakthrough to Lorenzo’s Yamaha farewell

Miller’s Dutch TT win in 2016 will forever be considered one of the most memorable MotoGP ™ races of all time. In the same year, Andrea Ianonne (Austria), Cal Crutchlow (Czech Republic, Australia), Maverick Viñales (Great Britain) and Andrea Dovizioso (Malaysia) won races after Miller’s victory. Marquez, Lorenzo and Pedrosa won before the end of the season, bringing the total number of winners to nine in 2016. Rossi won in Jerez and Catalonia before Miller triumphed.

Key moments 2016: Miller

At halfway through the 2016 MotoGP ™ World Championship, take a look back at some of Jack Miller’s key moments.

With the Valencia win, Lorenzo said goodbye to a phenomenal Yamaha career before moving to Ducati. After a few seasons conquered by Honda (Marquez, Pedrosa) and Yamaha (Lorenzo, Rossi) and the change of tire suppliers from Bridgestone to Michelin, it smelled bad that something had changed.

Rossi’s last and unprecedented 2020

We didn’t know then, but Rossi’s 2017 Assen win would be his last in MotoGP ™. And we had to wait until the 2019 Americas GP for the roster of different winners to come back to life thanks to the success of Alex Rins (Team Suzuki Ecstar) in the US. A few weeks later, Danilo Petrucci took an emotional first Grand Prix victory in Mugello.

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The real turning point, however, came in 2020, a year marked by Marquez’s end-of-season injury in Jerez and Covid-19. Five drivers won the premier class for the first time, including Fabio Quartararo (Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP), Brad Binder (Red Bull KTM Factory Racing), Miguel Oliveira (Red Bull KTM Factory Racing), Morbidelli and future world champion Joan Mir (Team Suzuki Ecstar).

Every factory on the hunt

In the 2020 campaign, the youngest competitor of the MotoGP ™ made a powerful appearance: KTM. The Austrian plant won three races in 2020 and won another two times in 2021. Quartararo brought Yamaha back to the top of the world for the first time since Lorenzo’s 2015 title win, but the constructors and team crowns went to Ducati. Jorge Martin (Pramac Racing) and Francesco Bagnaia (Ducati Lenovo Team) won their first MotoGP ™ victories in Styria and Austria.

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Over the past five years, the Bologna balls have become the main threat to the MotoGP ™ mainstays Honda and Yamaha, while Suzuki produced a stunning 2020 to firmly position itself in this category as well. Aprilia has struggled to consistently be at the top since returning to MotoGP ™ in 2015, but that changed in 2021. Aleix Espargaro’s Silverstone podium was the highlight, and with Maverick Viñales joining the ranks , should get even better for the Noale factory in 2022.

Lots of bullets in the chamber

And as if that wasn’t enough, there is still a pool of talented drivers hoping 2022 will be their year to make a splash. Greats like Johann Zarco (Pramac Racing), Pol Espargaro (Repsol Honda Team), Aleix Espargaro and Enea Bastianini (Team Gresini Racing MotoGP) – all podium places in 2021 – are chasing their first victories in the premier class of motorcycle racing. And let’s not forget the new rookies entering the race and all the other drivers on the grid. You are a MotoGP ™ rider for a reason, and it would be naive to count everyone on a race win.

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The relentless hegemony of the “Fantastic Four” has given way to a new, exciting era of MotoGP ™. Mir and Quartararo have won the last two titles, both for the first time in the premier class. Who says there won’t be a third to replicate the Spaniard’s and the French’s recent successes? After all, there are many candidates. Now the only question remains: who will be the 19th different winner since 2016?

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