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It has been the topic of the week. With the MotoGP riders on vacation, some fans have been debating on social media about the unoriginal issue of who is the best rider in the history of the world motorcycle championship. And one more time, have been the fans of Valentino Rossi and Marc Márquez, the two active legends, the only ones who have believed in the right to hold the throne.
The whole debate has come as a result of some statements by Aleix Espargaró to DAZN in which he explained that for him Márquez was clearly the best driver in history because he had to beat eight of the best ever. We are going to analyze the truth of these arguments.
Márquez and Rossi are not the only ones with the right to be the best in history
Espargaró literally said that "if we now make a list of the fifteen best strongest pilots in history, Marc had to beat eight and Valentino did not"A very shocking statement, because it would imply that, according to Espargaró, eight of the fifteen best riders in history (nine if we count Márquez himself) have coincided between 2013 and 2019, the years of Márquez's titles in MotoGP.
It is clear that in lists as subjective as these, personal taste always influences, but speaking of such a concentrated range of years, it may be better to go to the numbers and see which eight pilots, in addition to Márquez, are the ones with the best track records among the seven seasons in which the Spanish won the world championship in the queen category. We will even include future successes of the pilots.
We talk about Valentino Rossi, Jorge Lorenzo, Nicky Hayden, Joan Mir, Dani Pedrosa, Andrea Dovizioso, Fabio Quartararo and Maverick Viñales, according to Espargaró, eight of the fifteen best drivers in history. If Marquez is the first, they would be nice to know who he leaves out among Giacomo Agostini, Kevin Schwantz, John Surtees, Wayne Rainey, Mike Hailwood, Kenny Roberts, Casey Stoner, Eddie Lawson and Mick Doohan.
Beyond fanatical and political opinions that are very popular within the paddock Although they are not based on anything, the truth is that a good way to measure the greatness of the great champions is to observe which drivers have won and, almost more importantly, who have left without winning.
Accepting Rossi and Márquez as the only candidates, a ridiculous premise that we will later refute, it turns out that, for the moment, the Italian has prevailed over more champions than the Spanish, contrary to that argument that said, and continues to say, that Rossi had no great rivals throughout his career.
'Il Dottore' has won the World Cup with Álex Crivillé, Kenny Roberts Jr, Nicky Hayden and Casey Stoner on the track. In other words, he has beaten four pilots who were already champions of the premier class. On the contrary, at the moment Márquez has only done it with three: Rossi himself, Jorge Lorenzo and Nicky Hayden.
Of course, it is not the final argument either. If you riders like Stoner and above all Hayden, they have a World Cup because of Rossi's mistakes, bad years that Márquez has not had at the moment. His Hayden could be Joan Mir, but to win it in the locker before he will have to win a world championship again with Suzuki's on track already being champion.
It is more interesting to see who each driver has left without winning, and there it is frankly difficult to beat Rossi. The nonochampion He left important pilots in the history of motorcycling without a world championship such as Max Biaggi, Dani Pedrosa or Sete Gibernau, while in the case of Márquez the great name is Andrea Dovizioso, although Pedrosa could also be added for that 2013.
But the most ridiculous premise in this entire debate is to place Márquez and Rossi as the only possible contenders for the title. To begin with, because neither of them are the pilots with the most world championships in the premier class. There is Giacomo Agostini with eight titles already unattainable for Rossi, and that seen what has been seen they will not be so simple for Márquez.
Although if we talk about competition, it should not be forgotten that there was a time, in the late 80s and early 90s, when pilots like Wayne Rainey, Kevin Schwantz, Eddie Lawson, Wayne Gardner, Randy Mamola and Mick DoohanTherefore, the titles of those involved, even if they are less, could be understood as more valuable under the circumstances.
And that's not to mention Ángel Nieto, the great victim of these historical lists Because the paradigm has changed and now winning a title in the small categories is not worth the same as doing it in MotoGP. But Nieto's 12 + 1 world championships place him only behind Agostini at a time when racing in 125cc or 50cc was the highest level.
Ultimately, it is an innocuous debate, or it should be, but in which reaching an agreement is impossible. Bigotry and presentism will always render any reasoning inert, so it is better to enjoy the great legends that we have had to live with, respecting those that our parents and grandparents already enjoyed.