Plenty of action from five World Champions, but who comes out on top?
Continuing on from Part 1, the MOTUL FIM Superbike World Championship continues the countdown to find the greatest WorldSBK and MotoGP™ race winner of all-time. Modern favourites to retro flashbacks, Part 2 answers all your questions whilst also posing new ones. Find out who completes the list below!
5.) The Kentucky Kid shines at Sepang – 3 MotoGP™ wins, 1 WorldSBK win
When Nicky Hayden came to WorldSBK in 2016, he was a contender at the front of the field. After a first podium at Assen, Hayden utilised his circuit knowledge of Sepang and his experience of wet weather racing to take victory – a first World Championship win since Laguna Seca in MotoGP™, back in 2006. The 2006 MotoGP™ World Champion made memories in both Championships that will be everlasting, signing his name in numerous record books. A true talent taken far, far too soon.
4.) Marco Melandri’s majestic memories – 22 WorldSBK wins, 5 MotoGP™ wins
2002 250cc World Champion and a MotoGP™ and WorldSBK runner-up; Marco Melandri’s career is illustrious to say the least. His first win in MotoGP™ came at Istanbul Park in 2005, before he achieved a first WorldSBK victory at Donington Park in 2011. His last win was a memorable one, toppling Jonathan Rea in Race 2 at Phillip Island, 2018. Flying the Italian flag and becoming a huge personality throughout, Melandri’s versatility and hard racing were some of his iconic features.
3.) Mick Doohan’s career started sooner than you may think – 3 WorldSBK wins, 54 500cc wins
Say ‘Mick Doohan’ and you think of his five 500cc World Championships, quite rightly. However, before his dominance, he achieved Australia’s first WorldSBK win, back at Sugo in Race 2, 1988. Just one race after Gary Goodfellow gave Canada a first win, Doohan won by almost seven seconds, easing to victory. A double home win at Oran Park later in the year was the last time we saw him and soon, he’d conquer the world of 500cc racing, with a first win coming in 1990 at the Hungaroring.
2.) Troy Bayliss: A wonder from Down Under: – 52 WorldSBK wins, 1 MotoGP™ win
Troy Bayliss is known more for his success in WorldSBK but after a wildcard win at the Valencian Grand Prix in 2006, he joined this exclusive list. The charismatic Australian first appeared as a wildcard in WorldSBK at Phillip Island in 1997, achieving two fifth places. Brought in to replace Carl Fogarty in mid-2000, it would be Race 1 at Hockenheim where he’d take a first win. Other big wins like Monza Race 1 2001 and Assen Race 2 2007 and it’s easy to see why Bayliss makes it to second.
1.) The Roman Empire: Max Biaggi’s masterplan – 21 WorldSBK wins, 13 500cc/MotoGP™ wins
Four-time consecutive 250cc World Champion Max Biaggi is still the last rider to win on their 500cc/MotoGP™ debut. The Italian won 13 races there, with a last at the Sachsenring in 2004. Going to WorldSBK in 2007 saw him win on his debut, the only rider to take debut wins in both classes. A first title in the class came in 2010 before he backed it up with another in 2012, beating Tom Sykes by 0.5 points, the closest title race in history before he retired. ‘Mad Max’ and his outright success in all Championships makes him the number one rider to have won in both WorldSBK and MotoGP™.
Watch more action when 2020 racing resumes with the comprehensive WorldSBK VideoPass!