Motorsport.com's Top 10 MotoGP riders of 2015

Motorsport.com's panel of MotoGP experts have pooled their thoughts to determine the top 10 riders of a vintage season for Grand Prix racing.

Fantastic racing, arguably the most talented field ever, a gripping title battle that went to the wire and no shortage of controversy - the 2015 MotoGP season had it all.

Plenty of riders staked a claim for a spot in this list through the season, but only 10 can make the cut - albeit with a few honourable mentions before we dive into the list proper.

So, read on to see who's in and who's out - as well as to see who takes the coveted number one slot according to our expert panel:

 Charles Bradley - Editor-in-chief, Motorsport.com

 Léna Buffa - Head of MotoGP content, Motorsport.com France

 Matteo Nugnes - Head of MotoGP content, Motorsport.com Italy

 Jamie Klein - Editor, Motorsport.com UK

Honourable mentions

 Cal Crutchlow - LCR Honda (8th, 125pts)

CB: When he wasn't falling off, he was a regular top-seven fixture. Strong start and end to season, just needed to sort out the middle bit.

 Loris Baz - Forward Yamaha (2nd in Open, 28pts)

LB: A MotoGP rookie, the Frenchman had to adjust to his machine and also learn some of the circuits, and yet still established himself as the toughest Open challenger to Hector Barbera.

 Aleix Espargaro - Suzuki (11th, 105pts)

MN: Deserves a mention for his Catalunya pole position alone, and besides three consecutive DNFs early in the year he proved a solid points scorer for Suzuki on its return season.

 Jack Miller - LCR Honda (3rd in Open, 17pts)

JK: Scored more points than anyone else on the Open class Honda, and was spectacular to watch if a little inconsistent – but what else could you expect from a rider coming straight from Moto3?

10.  Hector Barbera - Avintia Ducati (1st in Open, 33pts)

LB: Was the reference for the Open category, despite the big points scored by Baz with his unexpected fourth place at Misano. Was top rider in class eight times, and his consistency paid off.

CB: Top Open class rider of the season, beating some decent competition, and deserves a shout-out for his all-action style.

9.  Andrea Dovizioso - Ducati (7th, 162pts)

MN: Started very well, coming close to victory in Qatar and stringing together a nice series of podiums. The second part of the season, however, was disastrous.

CB: What the heck went wrong here? Sublime start to the season but then his results spiralled, bar a great ride to third at a soggy Silverstone.

8.  Danilo Petrucci - Pramac Ducati (10th, 113pts)

JKOne of 2015's biggest surprises, the easy-going Italian was a constant top 10 presence in his first year at Pramac. Worthy of a top 10 spot even without his sparkling ride to second at Silverstone.

LB: He honed his physique during the winter and lost 10 kilos, and on track he proved fast enough riding the GP14.1 to merit the updated GP14.2 Ducati during the season. A breath of fresh air!

MN: At the start of the year, no one thought he could score just one point less than the acclaimed Pol Espargaro. His second place at Silverstone was a true masterpiece.

7.  Maverick Vinales - Suzuki (12th, 97pts)

LB: Certainly the Suzuki didn't allow him to fight for wins, but in his rookie season he distinguished himself with his mature approach, making eight Q2 appearances and scoring eight top 10 finishes.

JK: Took to MotoGP like the proverbial duck to water, immediately threatening teammate Espargaro and justifying his 'star of the future' tag. Suzuki has a battle on its hands to keep him after 2016.

MN: Showed flashes of class, most notably with the second fastest time in qualifying at Catalunya and during the race at Phillip Island. The 'Rookie of the Year' is a rider to watch for the future.

6.  Bradley Smith - Tech 3 Yamaha (6th, 181pts)

CB: The top non-works rider was super-consistent, with a 100 percent finishing record, and saw off teammate Pol Espargaro despite the Spaniard's big reputation.

JK: Knuckled down to score a succession of great results despite getting less favourable treatment than Espargaro. The most improved rider of all this year.

MN: Was the best of the satellite riders and had the satisfaction of beating one of the works Ducatis in the standings. Did a heroic job to take a podium in mixed conditions at Misano.

LB: The only rider to have finished every race in the points besides Rossi. Gave a hard time to fellow Brit Cal Crutchlow, who he beat in the championship to end the year as best satellite rider.

5.  Andrea Iannone - Ducati (5th, 188pts)

MN: Without doubt the most improved rider in 2015, something he demonstrated with his ride to third at Phillip Island. Perhaps deserved more than fifth place in the championship.

CB: Blew his well-regarded teammate Dovizioso away as he strong-armed the Ducati to realms it perhaps shouldn't have reached.

LB: More comfortable than his teammate with a GP15 that was late to arrive and experienced big changes during the season. Missing only a victory as reward for a very convincing season.

JK: Made the far more experienced Dovizioso look average at times, and added a dash of maturity and consistency to his prodigious speed. His first MotoGP win can’t be far away.

4.  Dani Pedrosa - Honda (4th, 206pts)

LB: Almost hung up his helmet after the first round of the season, but after a risky operation, the "eternal bridesmaid" didn't let himself down and regained his motivation on track.

JK: Scored more points than anyone bar Lorenzo in the final five races of the year, showing what he’s capable of when he’s at full fitness. Could be a big threat in 2016.

MN: If you thought at the beginning of the season he was one step away from retirement, his two wins in the last four races were something extraordinary. His return to form is great news for MotoGP.

CB: Came back strong after arm operation to solve his long-standing problems, reminding us he's still a force among the 'aliens'.

3.  Marc Marquez - Honda (3rd, 242pts)

JK: Crashed far too often, but was a force to be reckoned with on the 2014 Honda chassis, and on many occasions was the only man able to hold a candle to Lorenzo’s imperious pace.

CB: Looked like he was grappling a grizzly bear as he wrestled the 2015 Honda before switching back to '14-spec frame and reminding us he's a legend in the making.

LB: Has never crashed so frequently, but when the conditions were right he still managed to impress with his speed. His qualifying lap at Austin on his second bike will go down in MotoGP folklore.

MN: Five wins but six falls during races - too inconsistent from the reigning champion, even though the 2015 Honda did not help. The race at Valencia then left some lingering doubt.

2.  Valentino Rossi - Yamaha (2nd, 325pts)

CB: Lost the war but won so many on-track battles despite lacking raw, single-lap pace. Finished every race (only one other rider could claim that) and only three times off the podium. He's still got it.

MN: Wasn't the fastest, but made up for it with experience, winning whenever the opportunity presented itself. The controversy of the final few races casts a shadow over a great season.

LB: Was rewarded for his consistency, finishing every race and making 15 visits to the podium in his best season since 2010. His only error was triggering a controversy in Sepang that proved very costly.

JK: Deserves enormous credit for the way he’s reinvented himself, and for being a paragon of consistency. But, late-season antics aside, he was missing that final percent of speed needed.

1.  Jorge Lorenzo - Yamaha (1st, 330pts)

MN: Conspiracy or not, he deserved to be champion either way. After a difficult start in the first three races, he was almost always the fastest, conquering with seven victories.

LB: Made mistakes with his choice of tyres in Argentina and his fall at Misano, but when things went his way he was devilishly fast and capable of devastating consistency. Hats off!

JK: Led more laps in 2015 than the rest of the field combined, and led every lap in all seven of his race victories. No doubt the right man won.

CB: Yes, he was faster than Rossi, but he wasn't quite as consistent in the races and needed some help to clinch the title, whether it was inadvertent or not.

Complete Motorsport.com rankings:

Rider         TOTAL
 Jorge Lorenzo  9  10  10   10  39
 Valentino Rossi  10  9  9  8  36
 Marc Marquez  8  7  6  9  30
 Dani Pedrosa  7  8  7  6  28
 Andrea Iannone  6  6  8  7  27
 Bradley Smith  5  5  5  5  20
 Maverick Vinales    4  3  4  11
 Danilo Petrucci     3  4  3   10
 Andrea Dovizioso   3    2    5
 Hector Barbera   2  2  1    5
 Cal Crutchlow  4        4
 Aleix Espargaro         2  2
 Loris Baz   1  1      2
 Jack Miller         1  1

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About this article
Series MotoGP
Drivers Valentino Rossi , Bradley Smith , Hector Barbera , Andrea Dovizioso , Jorge Lorenzo , Dani Pedrosa , Marc Marquez , Danilo Petrucci , Andrea Iannone , Maverick Viñales
Article type Analysis