The Federation Internationale de Motocyclisme (FIM) is the governing body for the MotoGP, the world's top motorcycle racing competition. It is one of the longest-running racing world championships, having debuted a full year before Formula One in 1950. The purpose-built prototype motorcycles used in these races are a big part of what makes them so thrilling to fans across the globe. They were all purpose-built with one thing in mind: victory in racing competitions. Always trying to go a step ahead of the competition for the current season, they create in secret. Because of this air of intrigue and single-mindedness, they are undeniably hip and dramatic in a way that no homologation special could ever achieve. Giacomo Agostini, Mick Doohan, Valentino Rossi, and most recently Marc Marquez have all dominated the MotoGP title, but their motorcycles are just as good. So, without further ado, these are the legendary MotoGP motorcycles.
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MV Agusta 500s
Giacomo Agostini rode an MV Agusta to seven straight world championships from 1966 and 1972, making the 500 perhaps the most spectacular motorbike the company has ever produced. The 500 Three had its start in racing in the 1966 Dutch TT, and its name comes from the capacity and cylinders of its engine. MV Agusta was the first manufacturer to employ a four-valves-per-cylinder configuration on its engine, making it more powerful than any other motorcycle available at the time.
Suzuki RG500 Gamma
A key player in Suzuki's history of producing some of the world's fastest bikes is the RG500 Gamma. The 1981–1984 development run of the two-stroke MotoGP prototype saw victories in the world championships from Marco Luchinelli and Franco Uncini. It had a 498cc liquid-cooled two-stroke four-cylinder engine with a twin-crank square-four arrangement, capable of producing 118bhp, and a lightweight aluminium chassis.
From the 1980s until the conclusion of the 500cc era, the Honda NSR500 was Yamaha's main rival in the top class of the MotoGP. These incredible two-stroke bikes have helped spark legendary rivalries between their respective manufacturers. Alex Criville, Freddie Spencer, Wayne Gardner, Mick Doohan, Eddie Lawson, and Valentino Rossi all won championships while riding the NSR500, Honda's V4 prototype, towards the conclusion of the 500cc era. The NSR500 also won a total of 132 races.
Honda's V5 monster, the RC211V, may have only raced in MotoGP for five years, but it has dominated throughout its years of participation, with just Valentino Rossi riding the Yamaha M1 avoiding a Honda-Yamaha 1-2 finish in the championship. Over the course of five years, the RC211V has taken home three rider championships and four manufacturer championships, as well as 58% of the races in which it competed. It was incredibly competitive with any rider because of its superb rideability and seamless power delivery.
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The Yamaha YZR-M1 was the Japanese brand's challenger in the four-stroke era of MotoGP, but it took the combined efforts of brilliant engineer Jeremy Burgess and gifted rider Valentino Rossi to make the bike competitive enough to win a championship. Today, the M1 is usually considered the greatest all-around bike in the MotoGP grid, and it has helped Yamaha and its riders win seven world titles and 116 races so far.
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