The Top 5 MotoGP Riders to never win a MotoGP World Championship
MotoGP has seen many riders try to win the championship, a few have succeeded, but many have failed but came very close.
This list will make up the top five riders who came ever so close to win the the MotoGP title but never did. It will look at their career in the 500cc Championship and the MotoGP Championship as it became to be known.
Number 5: Marco Melandri
Marco Melandri was an Italian MotoGP rider who competed in the class between 2003 to 2010 and then had half a year stint back in the class in 2015. Before Marco entered the MotoGP Championship he was a prolific 250cc rider and in 2002 Marco won the 250cc Title with Aprilia. In Marcos 139 races in MotoGP he raced for Yamaha, Honda, Ducati, Kawasaki and Aprilia. Melandri claimed 20 podiums in these 139 races, 2 for Yamaha, 17 podiums for Honda and 1 for Kawasaki. In these 20 podiums Melandri finished on the top step 5 times all of these came for Honda in the years of 2005 and 2006. Melandri, just like Gibernau, finished runner up in MotoGP to Valentino Rossi, he finished runner up in 2005 on 220 points with 7 podiums and 2 wins, Marco finished 147 points behind Rossi. But, Marco certainly could have won the MotoGP Championship, it was shown in 2002 that Marco had the consistency and talent to win a two-wheeled title as he did in the 250cc Championship. He also showed that in the MotoGP Championship he had the ability to win races and finish on the podium multiple times.
Marco Melandri sliding the rear tyre of his Honda as he was known to do!
Number 4: Loris Capirossi
Loris Capirossi was an Italian MotoGP and 500cc rider who competed in the two classes between 1995-1996 and 2000-2011, he took a step back in 1997-1999 in the 250cc class. Loris raced for Honda, Yamaha, Ducati and Suzuki, he also managed to claim a total of 1840 points in his 14 seasons. Also, in Loris' 14 seasons in the Premier Class he raced 217 times in the classes. But, during his career Loris won the 125cc title twice in 1990 and 1991, he also won the 250cc title in the midst of his break from the 500cc class in 1999. But, in Loris' time in the Premier Class he finished on the rostrum 42 times, 16 times for Honda, 2 times for Yamaha, 23 times for Ducati and 1 time for Suzuki. Capirossi also managed finish on the top step of the podium 9 times in his career, 1 time for Yamaha, 4 times for Honda and 4 times for Ducati. Loris Capirossi finished 3rd in the MotoGP/500cc Championship twice in his career once in 2001 for Honda and once in 2006 for Ducati. In 2001 Loris finished with 210 points, 115 points behind Valentino Rossi, in this season he finished on the podium 9 times. In 2006, now on the Ducati, Loris finished on 229 points, 23 less than the 2006 Champion Nicky Hayden, in this season Loris finished on the podium 8 times and won 3 times. Loris demonstrated in his years in the classes that he also had the talent to win titles, as he did in the 125cc and the 250cc classes. But, Loris was held back when he moved to Ducati as it was a brand new bike to MotoGP and he became a loyal soldier to Ducati and aided them with their development of the Desmodeci.
Loris Capirossi winning the Japanese Grand Prix in 2007 on the Ducati Desmodeci!
Number 3: Andrea Dovizioso
Andrea Dovizioso 'The Professor' was an Italian MotoGP racer, he competed in MotoGP from 2008 to 2020. He raced 229 times in his 13 seasons in MotoGP, he also raced for Honda, Yamaha and Ducati in his time. Before Dovi moved to MotoGP he competed in the 125cc class and the 250cc class, in the 125cc class Dovi won the World Championship in 2004 with 293 points, he had further success in the 250cc class as he finished runner up in 2006 and 2007. In Andrea's time in MotoGP he finished on the podium 62 times, 16 times for Honda, 6 times for Yamaha and 40 times for Ducati. Of these 62 podiums Dovi stood on the top step 15 times, 1 time for Honda and 14 times for Ducati. Dovizioso didn't finish runner up in MotoGP until 2017 when he was racing for Ducati, in fact he finished runner up 3 years running in 2017, 2018 and 2019. In 2017 Andrea claimed 261 points, with 8 podiums and 6 wins, he finished 37 points behind Marc Marquez. In 2018 Dovi claimed 245 points, 9 podiums and 4 wins, Dovi finished 76 points behind Marc Marquez again. The fianlly in 2019 Andrea claimed 269 points, 9 podiums and 2 wins, Dovizioso finished 151 points behind Marc Marquez again. Andrea Dovizioso was always number 2 or even the number 3 rider when he was at the Repsol Honda team so was never given the newest of the new upgrades compared to Dani Pedrosa and Casey Stoner. Then when Dovi was at Ducati the bike was not very competitive when he joined but then the bike gradually progressed when Dovi finished runner up to Marc Marquez. But he can clearly win Championships as he did in the 125cc class.
Andrea Dovizioso on the Ducati Desomedici 20!
Number 2: Max Biaggi
Max Biaggi 'The Roman Emperor' was an Italian 500cc and MotoGP class racer, he competed in these classes between 1998 and 2005, in these 8 seasons Biaggi raced 127 times for Honda and Yamaha, he also claimed 1624 points. But, before Biaggi's Premier Class career he raced in the 250cc class for Honda and Aprilia, when with Aprilia Biaggi won 4 250cc titles all back to back between 1994-1997. Then after his MotoGP career Biaggi went on to race in World Superbikes between 2007 and 2012 and then 4 times in 2015, in this time he would win 2 Championships for Aprilia in 2010 and 2012. In Biaggi's 500cc and MotoGP career he finished on the podium 58 times, 30 times for Honda and 28 times Yamaha. Max also managed to win 13 races in his Premier Class career, he won his first ever race in the 500cc class for Honda in Japan in 1998. He won 5 races for Honda and 8 race wins for Yamaha. Max finished runner up in MotoGP and the 500cc class 3 times, these seasons were 1998, 2001 and 2002. In 1998 Max finished on 208 points with 8 podiums and 2 wins, Max finished 52 points behind Mick Doohan. Later in 2001 Max finished on 219 points with 9 podiums and 3 race wins, Biaggi finished 106 points behind Valentino Rossi. Then in 2002 Biaggi finished on 215 points with 8 podiums and 2 wins, he finished 140 points behind Valentino Rossi, again. Max showed that he could have won a MotoGP title and was successful in ever other category he raced in apart from the 500cc and the MotoGP Championship, again Valentino Rossi was a rider that prevented Biaggi coming close to winning a MotoGP title, this fact fueled the rivalry between the two Italians.
Max Biaggi's iconic wheelie in Brno when he won the Czech Republic Grand Prix for Yamaha!
Number 1: Dani Pedrosa
The man that is know as the Bridesmaid of MotoGP is the Spaniard, Dani Pedrosa. He raced for Repsol Honda in MotoGP between 2006 and 2018, in these 13 seasons Pedrosa claimed 3087 points for the Japanese manufacturer. But, before Dani's time in MotoGP he raced in the 125cc Championship and the 250cc Championship, both of these were with Honda. Pedrosa won the 125cc Championship in 2003, he also won two back to back 250cc Championship in 2004 and 2005. Dani Pedrosa claimed 112 podiums for Honda and of these 112 podiums Dani stood on the top step 31 times. Pedrosa finished runner up in MotoGP three times in his career, this occurred in 2007, 2010 and 2012. In 2007 Dani finished on 242 points with 8 podiums and 2 wins, Pedrosa finished 125 points behind Casey Stoner. In 2010 and 2012 Dani was beaten by the Yamaha man of Jorge Lorenzo, in 2010 Dani finished on 245 points with 9 podiums and 4 wins, this was 138 points behind Lorenzo. Finally, in 2012 Dani finished on 332 points with 15 podiums and 7 race wins, this was 18 points behind Jorge Lorenzo. Dani was massively unlucky in his career with injuries and with his competition. Pedrosa was known in his career to always have an injury and is one of the most injured riders of all time, this was due to his tiny build and small stature. Dani was also unlucky as he came into MotoGP in the era of Rossi, Stoner, Lorenzo and Hayden who all beat Dani to the title. Towards the end of Dani's career he became a number 2 rider to the young gun, Marc Marquez. Marc has dominated MotoGP for Honda from 2013, this naturally meant Dani became his number 2 at Honda.
Pedrosa winning a MotoGP race at Motegi!