WHO IS REALLY THE WINNINGEST BRAND IN THE SPORT: ALL THE WINNERS AND LOSERS
Not every rider on the AMA circuit is a winner. There are very few winners in a single season, and most of those winners repeat for several years; however, when it comes to motorcycle brands, AMA Championships have been spread out across seven brands over the last 20 years — with Husqvarna rejoining the AMA Championship ranks with titles by Zach Osborne and Jason Anderson in 2017 and 2018 respectively (Husky’s only previous AMA Championship was back in 1976 with Kent Howerton).
Still, there is lots of confusion over which brand is the “winningest.” Most of this confusion comes from a Suzuki advertisisng tag line that claims it is the “winningest brand in AMA motocross over the last 10 years.” Depending on the metrics that you are using, this tag line is easily fact checked. For MXA’s purposes, we wanted to round up all of the AMA National Championships over the last 20 years and collate them by brand. The titles we focused on were the AMA 250/450 Nationals and the AMA 450 Supercross series (from 1999 to 2019). We did not count AMA 250 East/West Supercross titles, because those are regional titles that the AMA does not recognize as National Championships.
On pure AMA Championships (between the three classes) Kawasaki has won 25 times, Suzuki 12 times, Yamaha 9 times, KTM 8 times, Honda seven times and Husqvarna two times over the past 20 years. If you only looked at the last 10 years, to sync with Suzuki’s tag line, the results are Kawasaki 10 Championships, KTM six, Suzuki five, Yamaha five, Honda two and Husqvarna two.
Some of the confusion comes because Ricky Carmichael won 13 Championships over the last 20-year time period. Many fans think that Carmichael, James Stewart and Ryan Dungey did most of their winning on Suzukis. Not true. Ricky Carmichael was an equal opportunity employee‚ winning 5 AMA Championships for Honda, 4 for Kawasaki and 4 for Suzuki. Ryan Dungey won 5 AMA Championships for KTM and 3 for Suzuki. James Stewart never won an AMA Championship on a Suzuki but did win 4 for Kawasaki and 1 for Yamaha. These three riders (Carmichael, Stewart and Dungey) combined won 7 Championships for Suzuki and 8 for Kawasaki; however, the winningest rider on a single brand over the last 20 years was Ryan Villopoto, who won 9 AMA Championships on a Kawasaki.
Kawasaki’s 25 AMA Championships were won by Ricky Carmichael, James Stewart, Ryan Villopoto, Eli Tomac, Mike Brown, Ivan Tedesco, Dean Wilson, Blake Baggett and Adam Cianciarulo. Suzuki’s 11 AMA Championships were won by Ricky Carmichael, Greg Albertyn, Chad Reed, Ryan Dungey, Ken Roczen and Travis Pastrana. Yamaha’s 10 AMA Championships were won by Jeremy McGrath, Chad Reed, James Stewart, Grant Langston, Jeremy Martin, Cooper Webb and Aaron Plessinger. KTM’s 8 AMA Championships were won by Ryan Dungey, Ken Roczen, Cooper Webb and Grant Langston. Honda’s 7 AMA Championships were won by Ricky Carmichael, Trey Canard and Eli Tomac. Husqvarnas 2 AMA Championships were won by Zach Osborne and Jason Anderson.
And there you have it, the “winningest brand” is Kawasaki over the last 10 years and the last 20 years.
AMA CHAMPIONSHIP BY BRAND (1999-2019)