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Marc Marquez: MotoGP’s best ever rookie?

After nine races he led Sheene by three points and was on course to become the first American 500cc champion. He still remains the only rider in modern times to win the title at his first attempt.

4. Dani Pedrosa – 2006 – 20 years and 276 days
Championship position: 2nd
Number of points (on current point scoring system): 127
Number of race wins: 2
Number of podiums: 5
Number of pole positions: 2
% of races finished on podium: 55
% of races won: 22
Riders battling for championship: Hayden, Rossi, Capirossi, Melandri.

Dani Pedrosa entered the premier class as Honda's golden boy coming off three consecutive championships and, like Marquez, his own records in the smaller categories matched and challenged the best in history.

He caused an immediate stir by finishing a comfortable second in his first race at Jerez, and produced a Rossi-esque ride through the field in Istanbul where he took just 12 laps to rise from 16th to first, before crashing on the last lap.

Despite his own serious concerns about how his 51kg frame could muscle the 990 around, he took his first triumph in China at Round four. By the season's half way mark he claimed his second MotoGP win with an imperious display at Donington, cementing his second place in the standings.

In a year when no rider dominated, Pedrosa's early consistency earmarked him as a true championship contender.

5. Giacomo Agostini – 1965 – 23 years and 67 days old
Championship position: 2nd
Number of points: 125
Number of race wins: 1
Number of podiums: 6
Number of pole positions: -
% of races finished on podium: 66
% of races won: 11
Riders battling for championship: Hailwood.

Count Agusta always wanted a household Italian name for his all-conquering MV team and plucked a young Agostini from the Italian 250 championship for the 1965 season to partner the imperious Mike Hailwood.

It was to be a learning year where 'Ago' would juggle his 500 duties with the 350 and Italian championship. He finished second to Hailwood six times overall, often close to a minute behind, with the MVs making light work of the Matchlesses and Nortons in pursuit.

Although the class lacked depth the 23-year old showed flashes of brilliance along the way, finishing third in his first ever TT on the 350. Later in the week he was holding a safe second in the Senior before crashing out at Kate's cottage. There may have been a prickly atmosphere between the teammates to start with but Agostini's midseason performances demonstrated he held his place on merit.

Soon there was great mutual respect from Hailwood. Agostini was a charming, fearless womaniser much like Mike. What was there not to love? Ago claimed his first win in at the ninth round in Finland and when Hailwood announced he was moving to Honda 'Ago' knew a championship assault wouldn't be far away.

6. Wayne Rainey – 1988 – 27 years and 254 days
Championship position: 3rd
Number of points: 125
Number of race wins: 0
Number of podiums: 4
Number of pole positions: 1
% of races finished on podium: 44
% of races won: 0
Riders battling for championship: Lawson, Gardner.

Wayne Rainey entered the 500 class in 1988 with Kenny Roberts' Lucky Strike squad after two years racing Superbikes in America. Initially penned to ride alongside veteran Randy Mamola, a team fall out meant Australian Kevin Magee was drafted in and Rainey had higher expectations placed upon than he imagined.

Although he was devastated by rival Schwantz and team-mate Magee's early victories, Rainey went about learning how to ride the 500 and extract the most from his Dunlop tyres with his trademark commitment and consistency. He only finished outside the top six once in the first nine races, notching up four podiums and a pole position in the process.

Related Pictures

Click on relevant pic to enlarge
Marquez, U.S.MotoGP 2013
Marquez fall at private Barcelona test
Pedrosa, Zarco, Vinales, French MotoGP 2017
Rossi, Vinales, French MotoGP 2017
Dovizioso, Crutchlow, French MotoGP 2017
Vinales, Zarco, Rossi, French MotoGP 2017
Vinales, Zarco, Rossi, French MotoGP 2017
Vinales, Zarco, Rossi, French MotoGP 2017
Vinales, Zarco, Rossi, French MotoGP 2017
Lorenzo, Petrucci French MotoGP 2017
Marquez, Pedrosa French MotoGP 2017
Marquez, Pedrosa French MotoGP 2017
Vinales, Zarco, Rossi French MotoGP 2017
Lorenzo, Petrucci French MotoGP 2017
Zarco, Rossi, French MotoGP 2017
Vinales, Zarco, Rossi, French MotoGP 2017
Marquez, Crutchlow, Pedrosa French MotoGP 2017
Vinales, Zarco, Rossi, Marquez French MotoGP 2017

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August 08, 2013 6:01 PM

Not many rookies had a teammate at Pedrosa's level that gave up data and techniques to get the most out of the bike. For example, Lorenzo had 'the wall' so had to do his own thing. There are too many variables to really say who was the best. It will be judged purely on results though, so in that sense yes he could be the best ever rookie. He's an amazing talent there's no doubt about it.


August 08, 2013 1:05 PM

I don't think you can compare his rookie season to any other, the number of competive rides is very low compared to most of those other riders rookie years, except maybe Jorge's, but the grid state has gotten even worse since then

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