Ranking the most controversial MotoGP feuds of all time

A sport that has great respect between riders, MotoGP has also had some of the most high-profile names come to blows in epic battles on-track.
Valentino Rossi and Casey Stoner MotoGP
Valentino Rossi and Casey Stoner MotoGP

5 - Kevin Schwantz vs Wayne Rainey

An all-American feud that began when the two were racing in the United States, Schwantz and Rainey became even greater rivals when they joined the world championship. 

One of the first real signs of tension between the pair actually started on British soil during 987 Transatlantic Trophy races when both riders consistently rubbed paint. 

When the two moved to grand prix racing, their battles became greater by the year as they contested multiple titles against one-another. 

Rainey was the more successful of the two American’s, winning three titles (on the bounce) compared to Schwantz’ one which came in 1993 - the year after Rainey completed his treble of titles.

4 - Valentino Rossi vs Max Biaggi

Not the last Rossi rivalry that will make this list, as the nine-time world champion was a magnet for creating the biggest and best battles due to his incredible success.

Of course, his willingness to do anything to win was evident throughout his career, and one of his biggest moments in the spotlight came as a young rider when battling Max Biaggi. 

When Rossi joined MotoGP the two Italians wasted no time in becoming fierce rivals, as was demonstrated in 1997 when it all began in a restaurant. Rossi was interviewed by the media at Suzuka which angered Biaggi as the out-spoken Italian said: "When you talk about me, first rinse your mouth!”

Since then Biaggi has softened his stance and looking back, he added: “I think we were two idiots who waged war against each other through the press instead of clarifying in person how we should have done.” 

3 - Rossi vs Casey Stoner (in more ways than one)

Rossi and Stoner are without doubt two of the greatest talents MotoGP has ever seen, and their on-track battles showed that.

But the pair was just as vocal about one-another then off circuit, especially when Rossi moved to Ducati to try and replace Stoner, something which went badly.

Stoner was not always a fan of the hard racing Rossi used against him, and following a particular incident at Jerez the Australian famously said his ambition outweighed his talent. 

Speaking recently about their coming-together at Jerez, Stoner said: “The first moment he had to take pride back he took the opportunity but made a big mistake. I basically said that [to him that] the ambition was more than the talent [he had] at the time.”

Stoner then added: “For me, when he returned to the box to apologise and you are wearing the gloves, the helmet, I don’t have a lot of respect for that. 

“If he came to me and not publicly then that would have been different. But I was very disappointed to see the way he came in the box.”

Lorenzo vs Pedrosa 

Jorge Lorenzo, Yamaha, MotoGP,
Jorge Lorenzo, Yamaha, MotoGP,
© Gold and Goose Photography

An All-Spanish rivalry, Jorge Lorenzo and Dani Pedrosa were very bitter rivals during much of their career.

Lorenzo and Pedrosa did battle against each other in every category, and with the pride of being the fastest Spaniard at stake, their ambitions made them fight each other to vicious degrees. 

Many incidents were had between the pair and looking back on their rivalry, Pedrosa added: “[Looking back], I have good memories,” Pedrosa said about their on-track rivalry. 

“In the moment, tense, uncomfortable memories. 

“We were fighting, there was friction, statements, tension on the track, if you beat or beat him, for both of us to lose was very bad.

“They are not good memories, but in the past they are good because we pushed each other in such a way that that caused us to raise our level to a point where we were left only him and me, the others were a clear step behind.”

Valencia 2013, Brno 2012 and Jerez 2018 were some of the best but also controversial battles between the two. 

Rossi and Marquez battle to the point of no return 

Valentino Rossi
Valentino Rossi
© Gold and Goose

Without question the most sour rivalry MotoGP has ever seen, Rossi and Marc Marquez ended up falling out in dramatic fashion.

It all started in 2015 when Rossi didn’t take kindly to the way Marquez was racing him, believing the Honda rider was trying to aid Lorenzo in the all-Yamaha title fight.

Several clashes was then followed by the famous Sepang incident when Rossi knocked Marquez off his bike after intentionally blocking his path. 

The two came together again in dramatic fashion in Argentina 2018, when an overly aggressive Marquez slammed into Rossi, this time knocking the nine-time world champion to the ground. 

A furious Rossi, said: "This is a very bad situation, because he destroyed our sport, because he [doesn't] have any respect for his rivals, never," Rossi said.

"When you go 300km per hour on the track, you have to have a respect for your rival, you have to be strong, you have to make the maximum, but [doing it] like this is over."

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