MotoGP Rider of the Year: 4th - Maverick Viñales

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After another epic season of racing, MCN’s sports team of Michael Guy (Sports Editor), Simon Patterson (MotoGP Reporter) and Oli Rushby (Superbike Reporter) sat down to discuss who impressed them the most in each race series we cover to establish MCN’s top five riders in each category.

And with this year’s MotoGP championship closer than ever, it wasn’t an easy call to decide who deserved what spot in our top five riders of the year in the class. Here’s what we think –  but feel free to disagree with us in the comments!

4th: Maverick Viñales

Maverick Viñales spent his two years at Suzuki teasing the MotoGP field with what he might have been capable of on a more refined bike than the still-new GSX-RR machine – and when he announced a switch to Yamaha machinery for 2017, it was expected that he’d be able to do something special as he replaced Jorge Lorenzo.

And he didn’t disappoint, dominating winter testing on his new mount before going on to start the season in stunning style. Winning first time out in Qatar and going to on to back it up with victories in Argentina and France, it looked like he was a surefire favourite fir the championship after the first third of the year.

And despite a difficult Yamaha M1 machine quickly waylaying that title aspiration, it was still an impressive season all round for the young Spaniard, taking third place in the championship race despite struggling in the hot conditions of Europe’s summer races.

Still full of fire and passion and working hard to improve the bike ahead of the first round of 2018, he’s going to be looking to come out firing even faster when the season kicks off at Qatar in late March.

Simon Patterson

By Simon Patterson

MotoGP and road racing reporter, photographer, videographer