Who is the highest-paid motocross racer in the world? Valentino Rossi is the lone motorcycle racer on Forbes' list of the top ten highest-paid racing racers. Rossi earned $22 million in a year, placing him $4 million ahead of F1 world winner Sebastian Vettel. In second place is Dorna Sports CEO Carmelo Ezpeleta ($12 million), with FIM President Max Mosley third ($7.5 million). The other three riders on the list have each taken home more than $3 million.
Rossi has won the most Grand Prix races (74) of any rider and is one win away from tying Giacomo Agostini for first place on the all-time winners list. He also has the fastest average speed over one race course season (143 mph/230 kph) and across all courses (120 mph/190 kph).
In 2014, Rossi made $11 million, winning the first of what was to be three consecutive Million Dollar Races. He also finished second at the Daytona Supercross and fourth at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway Supercross events that year. 2015 saw Rossi claim his fifth championship trophy, winning the inaugural FIM MotoGP World Championship. He remains the only person to have done so since the series inception in 1949. That year he also earned $7 million for finishing second at the Daytona Supercross and third at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway Supercross events.
In 2017, a study disclosed the salary of riders based on Rossi's earnings ($10 million). With a $14 million paycheck, Marc Marquez remains the most paid MotoGP rider. He recently earned a $2 million raise for his new deal, which runs until 2020. Jorge Lorenzo's contract was set to expire in 2019. He has yet to sign with a new team or sponsor.
Rossi's $56 million career winnings make him the best paid athlete in motorcycle racing. He has won every season he has competed, including five world championships. His earnings are also higher than those of other riders.
Of the other four living riders, only Cal Crutchlow has ever won the premier class. He was victorious in 2010. Since then, three others have tried but failed: Casey Stoner in 2011 and 2012 and Dani Pedrosa in 2015. The latter two men are still revered within the community because they were so close to taking home the prize.
Their efforts weren't enough to win though, as Rossi continues to rake in the cash.
According to "Motocross Action," a professional motocross racer would earn $36,295 per year if he finished twentieth in every AMA 450 event in 2014. That compares to $16,405 for a cyclist who finished forty-fifth in every race in a single season—or dead last. A top moto racer can make more than $100,000 per year.
Racers like Hayden and Redding don't win millions of dollars; they win smaller amounts over time as prizes for being the best in the world. But even at the highest levels of racing, from World Championships down to local races, prize money is very small compared to what other athletes make. The richest man in motorcycle racing, Dario Franchitti, earns only $750,000 per year. He's one of the best drivers in the world and has three World Championships under his belt, but that's not enough to make him rich.
Even with three championships, it will still take years before anyone makes back their investment in training and equipment. In fact, it usually takes many years: most champions have never made any money from riding bikes.
The majority of riders spend all their time paying their way through school or working full time while trying to balance competition schedules and keep their equipment up to date.
According to Motocross Action Magazine, top rider Ricky Carmichael earned a total of $8 million in 2005, just $228,000 of which was prize money. According to a 2006 Sports Illustrated story, Carmichael's base compensation with the Suzuki squad is $4.75 million. Including bonuses and endorsements, he made an estimated $10.5 million in 2005.
The most successful rider in MX1 history is John Dowdle, who has won 82 races during his career. He has earned over $4 million during his career. When prizes are factored in, the highest-paid rider in the sport's history is probably Mike Metzger, who received $7 million from 1986 to 1997 from various manufacturers including Suzuki, Honda, and Yamaha.
In 2007, Monster Energy/Pro Circuit/Yamaha's Ryan Villopoto became the first rider to win the 250cc title in back-to-back seasons when he took home the championship last month at Miller Motorsports Park. The reigning 125cc champion is Team Suzuki Red Bull Racing's Josh Grant. He's expected to be one of the favorites this year for the all-important 500cc title.
In conclusion, the top riders can make quite the income if they are given the right opportunities. However, it is not easy being on such a competitive team, so I would say that the average salary is probably around $500,000.
Highest Paid Race Car Drivers.
The Greatest Motocross Riders of All Time
Valentino Rossi is one of the most successful MotoGP racers of all time, having won nine Grand Prix World Championships, including seven in the elite MotoGP class. In addition, he is the first rider in racing history to have won the world championship in four distinct classes. He has also won the award for Best Motorcycle Racer of All Time by ESPN SportsCenter.
Rossi was born on January 4th, 1972 in San Pietro Vernotico, Italy. He began riding motorcycles at a young age and moved up to compete in national races by the age of 16. After winning several races, he was offered a contract with Yamaha Racing Team. He remained with the team for five years, during which time he became one of the leading lights of international motorcycle racing. In 2001, he moved to Honda Racing Corporation, where he has since gone on to win another seven championships. He currently races a factory-supported bike for the Italian manufacturer HRC.
His success has earned him the title of "The Prince of Pain", "Captain Valerio", "Davide Bonavia", "Davide Giugliano", "Il Valentino", "Viva El Valentino!", and "Riccardo Zanetti". He has also been known to wear various accessories and clothing items while on a race weekend to help him focus completely on the sport.