The latest episode of the Paddock Pass Podcast is sure to generate debate. In episode 150, Steve English and David Emmett debate who are the best five Grand Prix riders ever to swing a leg over a racing motorcycle. Steve and David are unanimous on their choice for number one, but from there, it's all disagreement.
Out of that disagreement, however, comes an interesting discussion of exactly how we should think about talent, and how it should be evaluated. That throws up questions of comparing riders against their teammates, the development direction a rider wants to take the motorcycle in, and how difficult comparisons are when you can only judge riders against the people they raced against, a factor those riders have no control over.
Some of the subjects Steve and David cover include whether Giacomo Agostini's victories against sparse competition really count, why you would choose Eddie Lawson over Wayne Rainey, or vice versa, whether a rider with a relatively short career like Casey Stoner should be considered top five or top ten, whether the unquestionable significance of Valentino Rossi - singlehandedly responsible for raising the profile of the sport to unprecedented levels - makes him the greatest of all time or not, whether we should use the phrase "greatest of all time" or "best of all time", and whether there's a difference, and whether sheer numbers count more than being able to win on a difficult and potentially uncompetitive machine.
The debate was triggered by issue number 200 of the On Track Off Road magazine, in which Paddock Pass Regular Neil Morrison gives his top five Grand Prix riders. You can find that article, and much, much more in OTOR #200 here.
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