MotoGP Rider of the Year: 5th - Valentino Rossi
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!
5th – Valentino Rossi
Closer to 40 than 30 and still winning MotoGP races, his win and podium record alone in 2017 would be enough to secure nine-time world champion Valentino Rossi a place on the list, especially after once again being in title contention for most of the year.
But that’s before his most remarkable achievement of the season, bouncing back from a broken leg in only 23 days. Falling in training and smashing his tibia and fibula, the break cost Rossi only one race at Misano, jumping back into action three weeks later at Aragon and only just missing out on a podium finish.
Yet the broken leg wasn’t the biggest challenge that Rossi had to face in 2017, thanks to a difficult-to-manage Yamaha M1 machine that left him and teammate Maverick Viñales struggling at the tracks and in the conditions that would normally have been instant success for them.
But, with both factors limiting his chance for success, Rossi still took an impressive victory at Assen, showed that he had the pace to dice with his rivals on multiple occasions, and came home in fifth place in the championship battle. He’s still got the fire, and it’s hard to rule him out of battling for that elusive tenth crown again in 2018.