A select group of riders have managed to take victory in both major World Championships…
The 2020 MOTUL FIM Superbike World Championship continues to be held on pause but that means that we can look for the very best moments. This week, it’s time to select the ten best riders to have won in both WorldSBK and MotoGP™; with 17 in total, find out who makes the cut in the list below!
10.) Tamada’s terrific triumphs – 3 WorldSBK wins, 2 MotoGP™ wins
Makoto Tamada made a quiet WorldSBK debut in 1999 with two top ten finishes at Sugo. However, it was 2001 when he’d shine the most; a double win at Sugo as a wildcard for Cabin Honda, it would be a springboard for him to hit the MotoGP™ World Championship with success. He eased to a first victory at Jacarepagua in Brazil in 2004 – the last race winner there – before winning his home GP at Motegi. A formidable force in his short yet successful career, he’s deserving of a place on the list.
9.) ‘Little John’ and his big achievements – 14 WorldSBK wins, 4 500cc wins
1990 250cc World Champion John Kocinski’s attitude and eccentricity made him notable. Graduating to 500cc racing in 1991, a first win came in Malaysia, before three more followed in the next three years. Taking 1995 out, Kocinski rocked up to WorldSBK in 1996, proving an instant hit. Two debut-round wins went unequalled until Alvaro Bautista in 2019. A huge rivalry with Carl Fogarty saw them duel for the 1997 crown; Kocinski took the title before returning unsuccessfully to 500cc Grand Prix.
8.) Ben Spies and his strong first impressions – 14 WorldSBK wins, 1 MotoGP™ win
With three AMA titles, Ben Spies came to WorldSBK in 2009 and was an instant title contender. A year-long battle with veteran Noriyuki Haga witnessed the title race change dramatically, before the grand finale at Portimao gave Spies the crown. After 14 wins, he joined MotoGP™ in 2010 with Tech 3 Yamaha, achieving a podium by round five. His only win came at the 2011 Dutch TT, with just one more podium achieved. Plagued by bad luck in 2012, it’s a case of ‘what could’ve been’ for Ben...
7.) Crutchlow comes, Crutchlow conquers – 3 WorldSBK wins, 3 MotoGP™ wins
Cal Crutchlow isn’t just a WorldSBK and MotoGP™ winner, he’s a WorldSSP Champion too. Moving to WorldSBK as WorldSSP Champion in 2010, he won three races to finish fifth overall. It was on to Tech 3 Yamaha for 2011 but it would be 2012 which would be his big year. A first podium at Brno would be the start of good form in the Czech Republic as four years later, he took a first GP win, 35 years after the last British win by Barry Sheene. A true great with many race wins in multiple classes.
6.) Checa gets better with age – 24 WorldSBK wins, 2 500cc wins
Experience is a key attribute and in the case of Carlos Checa, he’d been a top performer in 500cc/MotoGP™ for a number of seasons. Winning his first race at the 1996 Catalan Grand Prix, Checa hit the WorldSBK stage 12 years later, taking a first win at the Miller Motorsport’s Park. After success for Honda, he switched to Ducati and was crowned WorldSBK Champion in 2011. An impressive year featured a stunning 15 wins and is the only Spanish Champion in WorldSBK so far…
Make sure to find out who makes up the top five with Part 2 tomorrow, 27th May!
Enjoy the 2020 WorldSBK season when racing resumes with the WorldSBK VideoPass!