2003 was the only MotoGP year that those three riders all raced for Honda, which clearly influenced the bike's success, but like all forms of motorsport it is impossible to separate man and machine entirely.
The 2003 RCV's score was further magnified by a dismal year for traditional main rival Yamaha (which managed just one podium with its least successful version of the M1) although new challenger Ducati (which won the other race) did an impressive job in its first MotoGP season.
2. 2002 Honda RC211V
Final Score: 4.81
Honda's first MotoGP four-stroke was head-and-shoulders above the competition for much of the year, although Max Biaggi and Yamaha were able to win two races later in the season.
Because it was the first year of 990cc four-stroke racing, only the Repsol Honda Team had RCVs for the full season - the satellite teams spent most, if not all, the season with 500cc two-strokes - hurting the 2002 RCV's potential score relative to later models.
Nevertheless, Daijiro Kato
(Gresini) and Alex Barros
(Pons) joined Rossi and Ukawa in taking the RCV to podium finishes that year and the '02 bike was second only to the '03 model for total podium points under our system.
3. 2004 Honda RC211V
Final Score: 4.69
Although not an overall winner, the 2004 and 2005 RCVs (number 8 on our list) put six different riders on the podium - more than any other MotoGP bikes.
On the other hand, the arrival of Valentino Rossi
at Yamaha in 2004 meant that on seven occasions a YZR-M1 was first across the finish line, which is why the '04 Honda's Podium Points suffered.
Yamaha's M1 scored just four points under our system in 2003, but claimed 45 points in 2004 as Rossi, Carlos Checa and Marco Melandri
all stood on the rostrum. That increased competition hurt the RCV's total.
4. 2009 Yamaha YZR-M1
Final Score: 3.88
Yamaha riders Valentino Rossi
and Jorge Lorenzo
finished one-two in the 2009 MotoGP World Championship, helping that year's Yamaha M1 to fourth on our list and the highest placed 800cc motorcycle.
In terms of podiums the 2009 M1 scored as many points as the '04 RCV above (although over one extra race), but suffered most in terms of different riders to take a podium. In fairness, it would have been impossible for Yamaha to match Honda's six different riders since Yamaha only ran four riders.