“That’s why we line up every Sunday”, Nicky Hayden, the 2006 MotoGP World Champion said famously once, as he tried to explain how tough and unpredictable this sport can be. You have to believe that there is a great doze of insanity that runs through these racers who race these 170kg missiles on two wheels that produce upwards of 270bhp’s and can attain speeds well in excess of 350kmph as they chase each other and glory. And then, every once while, these riders become part racing moments that makes them legends, victors who defied certain defeats to clinch famous results. Here we try to compile the 6 Most Thrilling MotoGP Races of Recent Times that defined and era of the greatest event on two wheels, the MotoGP World Championship!
Valentino Rossi – Casey Stoner at Laguna Seca 2008
Probably the most famous race of the modern era of MotoGP, and on top of our 6 most thrilling MotoGP races of recent times list, the Laguna Seca Round of the 2008 MotoGP World Championship proved a pivot point in laying the foundation of the fate of that year’s championship and for the relation two riders that were involved and their contingents of fans and supporter had after that. After destroying the field to take the surprise 2007 MotoGP World Championship Title, the Casey Stoner and Ducati Desmosdici GP duo were on path for another great year when the Ducati racer had topped every session to establish his dominance at the American track, but Rossi had other plans for the race day and what followed was one of the greatest racing moments on two wheels. The two fierce competitors went up against one another in a thrilling exchange of overtakes that never seized to arrive leaving nothing on chance and there was no room for error.
The incident that happened on the Lap 23, when Rossi took the lead after a rather innovative but controversial overtake from the outside of the kerbs at the cork screw, the battle continued till Stoner ended up in the gravel trap in the final lap, meaning Rossi won the race. Stoner always said that the Rossi overtake was uncalled for, while the Rossi contingent always took it as a race incident, watch the video below to decide what side to take.
Valentino Rossi – Jorge Lorenzo Catalunya 2009
It is a known quantity in the MotoGP world that there has been no love lost between Valentino Rossi and Jorge Lorenzo, ever since Lorenzo started rising up the ladder in the Factory Yamaha MotoGP Squad. However, The old man of MotoGP wasn’t going to give away his number one status in the team to his team mate that easily, and to showcase is absolute race craft, in our next in the list of 6 most thrilling MotoGP races of recent times, Rossi pulled out probably the greatest pass in the history of modern era of Premier class motorcycle racing on Lorenzo, as the world stood amazed Rossi took in a hugely famous victory to establish his strong claim of being the greatest MotoGP racer of all time. Valentino Won the Championship that year. Watch the video below to see the epic pass yourself.
Valentino Rossi – Jorge Lorenzo Motegi 2010
Valentine Rossi had a very eventful racing year in 2010 when he suffered a massive crash at his home round during free practice breaking his leg and missing a race for the first time ever in his MotoGP career, to see that his fierce rival and teammate having a strong hold on the 2010 title and above all the decision to leave Yamaha and join Ducati for 2011 meant Rossi had to showcase his team mate that he is still the number one even when Lorenzo was set to win the title. Our next race on the 6 most thrilling MotoGP races of recent times list is the 2010 Motegi round, where the battle between Rossi and Lorenzo waged for almost whole of the race with daring moves, touching fairings and colliding team mates at speeds in excess of 200kmph the made evident the enraging battle between the two racers and the tense battle engrossed everyone witnessing it. Rossi managed to edge ahead of Lorenzo to take the last podium spot while Lorenzo had to settle for the fourth position in the race that was won my Casey Stoner followed by Andrea Dovizioso in second. Later after the race, Lorenzo blamed his team mate for too aggressive riding that he deemed dangerous, watch the video below to make up your mind on Lorenzo’s claims. Lorenzo went on to become the 2010 MotoGP World Champion.
Jorge Lorenzo – Dani Pedrosa Brno 2012
This is another one of the edge of the seat thrillers that will awe generations to come and thus is an entry to our 6 most thrilling MotoGP races of recent times list, the battle between Jorge Lorenzo and Dani Pedrosa who was the biggest obstacle between Lorenzo and his second World Championship title during the 2012 MotoGP season. It s also, arguably the best race of Jorge Lorenzo’s career thus far. Watch the thrilling footage from the race below.
Valentino Rossi – Marc Marquez Argentina 2015
Valentino Rossi’s and his fiercest rival yet, the young prodigy and the biggest challenge to his throne yet, Marc Marquez have been at the thick center of every discussion surrounding MotoGP lately, especially since the Sepang 2015 round, however, the base of this feud stared to show itself at Argentina 2015 round of MotoGP, thus bringing the Argentinian round of 2015 into our 6 most thrilling MotoGP races of recent times list. Marquez had started the race from pole position and quickly opened a lead of four-seconds at the front of the field. However, the race was always going to be about the choice of tires and during the second half of the race Marquez was unable to keep up the pace and Rossi who ran a harder compound tire caught up with him with three laps to go. One lap later Marquez tried to regain position from a second attempt he collided with Rossi and crashed lending Rossi a big victory. Watch how the drama unfolded below.
Valentino Rossi – Marc Marquez Assen 2015
If the events of Argentina were the first sprouts of tension that rose between Rossi and Marquez, then whatever happened at the 2015 Assen MotoGP round gave it huge fire meaning that we just have to talk about this race in our 6 most thrilling MotoGP races of recent times list. Movistar Yamaha’s Rossi, starting from pole for the first time since Valencia last season, led into the first corner and it didn’t take Marquez long to join him after starting from third on the grid. However, Marquez made a move on Rossi as the duo entered the final chicane on the very last lap and made contact with the Italian, forcing Rossi to run straight on through the gravel. Rossi managed to stay upright though and went on to take the chequered flag 1.242s ahead of Marquez. After the race whatever happened, as they say was history. Watch the video below of the epic last lap last turn drama that happened below.
Like Nicky Hayden once famously said, “That’s why we line up every Sunday to race”.