This MotoGP season was remarkable due to several factors. Above all, the fact that three different manufacturers clearly dominated in different tracks and phases of the year. Moreover, expectations changed a lot throughout the season. In the beginning it looked like Yamaha and Viñales were going to dominate the championship, however, there were 4 different leaders in the standings throughout the season.
Furthermore, there were the usual good and bad surprises, both with riders that were already in the MotoGP class and with rookies. Here you will see the top ten riders with a couple honourable mentions who, in my opinion, stood out and deserve recognition for their efforts during this year.
10th Pol Espargaró – Leading KTM’s development in its first MotoGP year, the Spaniard could fight regularly for the top ten positions in the second part of the season. His team-mate, Smith, was definitely helpful, but Espargaró was clearly the leader in the growth of a promising project for the next few years.
9th Jack Miller – Seemingly with one of the worse bikes of the paddock, the “Jackass” was 11th in the final standings, which means this was his best season in MotoGP so far. The most impressive part was his comeback from an injury: three weeks after crashing, he led the first four laps in his home GP and showed great pace in the two other final races.
8th Jorge Lorenzo – There are two reasons which explain why it is difficult to recognise his effort this season. Firstly, the fact that this man came from 9 years riding one of the best bikes in the paddock and changed to a bike that is known for being difficult to ride with a team whose last championship victory was in 2007. Moreover, his team-mate outshined him with a performance that was both great and unexpected. Nonetheless, Lorenzo managed to get 3 podiums and, in the second half of the season, he fought regularly for a top 5.
7th Danilo Petrucci – One of the rain masters who, in my opinion, deserved a win this season. He stepped on the podium four times, two of them with a real chance to win (Assen and San Marino). Despite the lack of consistency, he was the second best rider from an independent team.
6th Dani Pedrosa – In one of the few seasons in which he hasn’t been plagued by any injury, the Spaniard won two races in home turf. Even though he finished in the 4th place in standings, only Márquez (champion) could get more podiums than Pedrosa.
5th Valentino Rossi – “The Doctor” started the season with three consecutive podiums and if he hadn’t broken his leg, he might have had a chance to fight for the championship. This made him miss out on one of his home GPs and racing while recovering in the next race. Nevertheless, Rossi finished 5th in the standings, just two points behind Pedrosa.
4th Johann Zarco – For a rookie in an independent team to achieve three podiums and lead several laps in different races is something quite admirable. In the final race of the season, the Frenchman was very close to his first win in MotoGP. Zarco was undoubtedly one of the biggest surprises of the season. Next year he may even be a title contender, however, it will be difficult to do so as long as he stays in an independent team.
3rd Maverick Viñales – Having dominated the pre-season, he was the favourite for the championship. Moreover, after the first six races, he had three wins and was comfortably leading the standings. Before the 7th round, Michelin introduced a harder front tyre, with which Viñales was not comfortable at all, that had him struggling to get good results. Besides, Yamaha tested various chassis to fight its poor results but in the end it was not helpful.
From the first the moment the front tyre was changed, Viñales didn’t win any more races, having been only three times on the podium, whereas in the first six races he has been there four times. Despite his decrease in performance throughout the year, Maverick certainly deserves to be in the top three due to a great start of the season and persistence during tough times.
2nd Andrea Dovizioso – Alongside with Zarco, Dovi was one of the best surprises of 2017. It seemed that this new version of himself was kept from us ever since he has been in the MotoGP. The Italian rider has always been tough to beat in one-on-one situations but never has he been as fast and astute in the races as in 2017.
Nobody expected him to be one of the title candidates in the final race. To put things in perspective, Dovi won two races in his first nine years of MotoGP, while in this season only he won six. Furthermore, he beat Márquez twice when fighting for a win, which is quite difficult, taking into account that the Spaniard is considered to be one of the best when battling with other riders. All in all, Dovizioso provided MotoGP fans lots of exciting moments to remember for a long time.
1st Marc Márquez – This man had twelve podiums in 18 races, six wins and his worst finish was 6th place. Yet, statistics can’t demonstrate what an excitement it is to watch Márquez riding his motorcycle. He is, for sure, the most skilled of the current riders and arguably the best in race tactics.
The 24-year-old Spaniard is definitely hard to beat in a championship run. Since he has been in MotoGP, only once wasn’t he champion – which means he has won four championships in five seasons. As usual Márquez presented the fans with lots of thrilling moments, with the top one being the incredible save at 133 km/h in the final race when the title was at stake.
Jonas Folger – In his rookie year, Folger achieved some good results despite, unfortunately, having suffered an injury which made him miss the last four races. The highlight of his season was a brilliant 2nd place in his home GP.
Álex Rins – Even though he suffered an injury that kept him away from the track during five races, Rins showed great progress over the season, having achieved an exceptional 4th place in the final race.