It was difficult not to be impressed by the great lap time set by Jonathan Rea at the recent Jerez test, following which there has been lots of discussion on the reasons why he is not on a factory bike in MotoGP. Of interest to the discussion is the performance of previous WSBK Champions who have moved across to compete in MotoGP. In total there have been five riders compete full-time in MotoGP after winning the WSBK title: Troy Bayliss, Colin Edwards, Neil Hodgson, James Toseland and Ben Spies.

The following table is a summary of the MotoGP results achieved by each of these five riders:

Rider Starts Wins Podiums Best championship posn.
Bayliss 44 1 5 6th
Edwards 196 0 12 4th
Hodgson 16 0 0 17th
Toseland 35 0 0 11th
Spies 52 1 6 5th


Summary for all riders combined:

Starts Wins Podiums Best championship posn.
343 2 23 4th


The summary here is critical, showing that from a combined 343 starts in the MotoGP class by WSBK title winners they have accumulated a total of just two wins (representing a win rate of 0.6%) and 23 podium finishes (a rate of 6.7%). Also, no rider who has won the WSBK title has managed to finish higher than 4th in the MotoGP World Championship.

Of course, what has happened in the past is not necessarily a great guide to what may happen in the future, but the fact that no winner of the WSBK title has transferred across to MotoGP and made a massive impact by scoring multiple race victories or challenging for the world title must influence the thinking of MotoGP team managers.

But then again what are the alternatives? Well it seems that the more traditional route of graduating from the smaller Grand Prix classes seems to the one favoured by the MotoGP team bosses. But how do the statistics of these riders stack-up? Tune in next week to find the answer to that one!