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The premier championship of motorcycle road racing, the Road Racing World Championship Grand Prix, was first organized by the Fédération Internationale de Motocyclisme (FIM) in 1949. It is currently divided into three classes: MotoGP, Moto2 and Moto3. The three classes are restricted to the 250cc, the 600cc and the 1000cc four-stroke engines respectively. The FIM remains as the sport’s sanctioning body, while the commercial rights are owned by Dorna Sports.
MotoGP, the elite class of Grand Prix motorcycle racing, has changed dramatically over the recent years. With the upgrade of the four-stroke engines to 1000cc, some restrictive rules on the number of engines that may be used in a season, the fuel allowance during a race, etc, the riders too have had massive improvements in their yearly earnings. Top MotoGP riders travel around the world to compete the annual FIM World Championship series, and their sources of income are mainly determined by their performance in these series and the lucrative endorsement deals they have with various manufacturers and companies.
According to an estimate, leasing a top-level motorcycle for a rider in the MotoGP costs 3 to 3.5 million dollars for a racing season. Such motorcycles can reach speeds of up to 200mph. So, MotoGP is an extreme sport, and therefore, only few riders are selected on the basis of their current winning forms in the World Championships. Over recent years, the Championships were won mainly by Valentino Rossi, Jorge Lorenzo, Casey Stoner (retired) and Dani Pedrosa. They were all awarded with well-paid salaries for the services they rendered in MotoGP. Last year, a shining star in the name of Marc Marquez stunned the world with his winning performances in the Championship. On balance, every team is paying in the millions to their best riders in MotoGP.
However, MotoGP riders are getting paid peanuts when compared to Formula 1 drivers, NASCAR drivers or athletes from other major sports. Of course the number one rider on our list, a sporting icon, is making a handsome sum of money comparable to the athletes from other major sports, but what about the rest of the pack? Read on through our list of the top 10 highest-paid MotoGP riders in 2014 to find out.
10. Colin Edwards – Forward Racing Team – $950,000 per year
Colin Edwards is a 39-year-old American professional motorcycle racer. He is a two-time World Superbike champion and a record holder for the most points in a single season with 552 in the championship. After winning his 2nd Superbike World Championship, Edwards moved up to the MotoGP class in 2003. Nicknamed the ‘Texas Tornado’, he currently rides bike number 5 for the NGM Mobile Forward Racing team. Edwards finished 14th in the 2013 MotoGP World Championship standings with 41 points. He has a yearly salary of $950,000.