MotoMatters.com is delighted to feature the work of iconic MotoGP writer Mat Oxley. Oxley is a former racer, TT winner and highly respected author of biographies of world champions Mick Doohan and Valentino Rossi, and currently writes for Motor Sport Magazine, where he is MotoGP correspondent. We are featuring sections from Oxley's blogs, which are posted in full on the Motor Sport Magazine website.
MotoGP’s biggest winners: Rossi and Honda
MotoGP’s four-stroke era enters its 20th season in 2021, so here are the biggest winners, plus why MotoGP technical rules will remain unchanged till 2026
The 2021 MotoGP season will be the 73rd season of motorcycle grand prix racing and, more significantly, the 20th year of the four-stroke MotoGP world championship.
In 2002 the premier-class engine size was changed for the first time since 1949, with 990cc four-strokes introduced to eliminate the 500cc two-strokes.
The reason for the shift to four-strokes was straightforward: increasingly strict anti-pollution legislation (starting with the USA’s Clean Air Act of 1970) had killed off two-stroke road bikes, so what was the point of racing two-strokes?
Some fans hated saying goodbye to the 500s, others were delighted by the arrival of the roaring 990s, which had the added bonus of stealing some thunder from World Superbikes. During the 1990s WSB had grown in popularity while fans had drifted away from GPs, bored of waking up on race day wondering who would finish second to Mick Doohan. Of course, at that time MotoGP rights-holder Dorna didn’t own WSB.
Since the start of the 2002 MotoGP season there have been 329 races, with two clear winners: Valentino Rossi is the most successful rider of the four-stroke era, with 76 victories, while Honda is far and away the most successful manufacturer, with 153 race wins.
Read the rest of Mat Oxley's blog on the Motor Sport Magazine website.