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MotoGP vs Formula One: Which is Faster, Two Wheels or Four?

2020 MotoGP Calendar

While it was very nice of MotoGP to put out droves of content for free, nothing quite compares to the thrills of live, high-speed motorbikes. After a long wait, MotoGP has returned with a new schedule, with a sleek stack of races across Europe and a few more earmarked to take place in North America, South America, and Asia, pending confirmation. As of 19 July, MotoGP is back, with the Circuito de Jerez hosting the first of a confirmed 13 races that’ll give the super-powered bikes a place to burn some rubber and compete for the championship. Alongside MotoGP, another high-velocity sport has made its return, Formula One, so we thought it prudent to check out the two racing tournaments side-by-side to see if two wheels are faster than four.

The insane speeds of MotoGP bikes

The Qatar tests from February 2020 laid down some incredible speeds. Top of the pile was Jack Miller on a Ducati, clocking in at 355.2 kph (220.7 mph). Close behind was Danilo Petrucci at 352.9 kph, Francesco Bagnaia at 351.7 kph, and Johann Zarco at 350.6 kph; all of whom were also riding a Ducati bike. It may be surprising that, despite his dominance, Marc Marquez doesn’t have the fastest bike in MotoGP, with his Honda reaching a top speed of 346.1 kph. The top speed of these Qatar tests wasn’t too far off of the record, with the Ducati of Andrea Dovizioso hitting 356.5 kph (221.5 mph) at the Gran Premio d’Italia Oakley.

Away from the track, manufacturers are pushing the limits of what we thought was possible on two wheels with absurdly fast models. In the electric motorcycle space, Venturi’s BB2.5 prototype hit a staggering 495 kph (307.6 mph) in testing, while they say their BB3 model can hit unheralded heights of 700 kph (434.96 mph). As for what can be purchased on the market, the 2019 MTT 420RR is claimed to be the fastest motorcycle, with a top speed of 273.4 mph (440 kph). The speeds put up by the stars of MotoGP and commercial companies have set the bar very high for four-wheeled vehicles.

Four wheels competing at the highest level

Formula One is regarded as one of the most intense sports in the world, with the top speeds of F1 cars during races hitting absurd heights. In 2005, the bar was set at the Italian Grand Prix, with the McLaren-Mercedes driven by Juan Pablo Montoya getting to 372.6 kph (231.5 mph). It took 11 years, but during practice for the Azerbaijan Grand Prix, one Valtteri Bottas crept over the bar by hitting a top speed of 378 kph (234.9 mph) in 2016. Much like in MotoGP, having the fastest car doesn’t necessarily lead to victory, with the Ferrari hitting the fastest speed of 336.7 kph (209.1 mph) in 2020, and yet they don’t lead the way.

He may be the clear back-up driver to Lewis Hamilton at Mercedes, but Bottas is still laying down some incredible speeds to take points, finishing the race headlining F1’s return, the Austrian Grand Prix, in first place. Bottas claimed the top spot, Charles Leclerc’s Ferrari came in second, and Lando Norris in the McLaren-Renault came in third after Hamilton was deducted points. Such a display from Bottas and his historic speeds have earned the Finn a lot of favour and, as of 6 July, he’s the second-favourite at 2/1 to win the Drivers’ Championship while topping the standings. Of course, not everyone can drive an F1 car, with the fastest four-wheeler on the market being the almighty Bugatti Chiron Sport, which hits 261 mph (420 kph) with the pedal down.

Two vs Four: split decision

When comparing motorbikes and cars at the highest levels of competition, the vehicles of MotoGP come up just a little bit short on those of Formula One. At 221.5 mph on a bike to 234.9 mph in an F1 car, Moto GP is slower, but both are incredible speeds to hit in the heat of competition and while utilising the skill required to navigate tracks and other drivers. As reaffirmed by Red Bull, F1 cars can go faster around a track than MotoGP motorbikes. On the commercial side, however, those seeking the fastest speeds should opt for a top-of-the-range motorbike, with the 2019 MTT 420RR’s top speed of 273.4 mph eclipsing that of the Bugatti Chiron Sport’s 261 mph.

So, in the world of motorsport, the conditions are in place to allow the four-wheeled Formula One cars to go faster than MotoGP’s two-wheelers. However, if you want to own the fastest bike or car, you’ll find the top speeds in a motorbike.

  1. I am not so sure about a split decision you claim. I am a big fan of MotoGP and F1 and have traveled to many events in both classes. The difference between speed and lap times is often huge, there are a number of circuits where a MotoGP bike will in fact have a higher top speed but a much slower lap time than a F1 car. In others where there is a small difference in top speed but a huge difference in lap time. Sepang for instance a bike has a higher top speed but will get lapped by a F1 car after every 3rd lap there is 30 seconds per lap difference in the lap times (and thats only if they are both moving if its a standing start to F1 would overtake much sooner). You cant beat good aero and lots of rubber.

  2. Aside for the facts that this guy said which I agree. Although,MotoGp bikes are slower around the track than F1 cars, F2 or even F3 cars. Another thing is, with it’s power to weight ratio. Bikes could accelerate faster than a car despite not reaching it’s peak top speed on straights. If you look at one of the dragrace between the RB F1 V8 car, a Touring car, Endurance car, commercial plane, fighter jet & a stock Kawasaki Zx10r with Kennan Sofuglu on it. Guess what who won. What more if it was a prototype Gp bike. I like 2 or 4 wheels sport but this comparison isn’t parralel. Every motorsport maniac knows it. F1 4 huge grippy wheels,aero dynamic body with front-rear Wings with DRS, Traction control as well as the electronics are all made for track performance. No way any 2 or four wheels could beat them around the circuit but on a drag or straights. As I’ve said Gp bikes doesn’t need to reach it’s peak & could left F1 car in the dust. The only thing stops the Gp bikes to record higher top speed is the way the riders used it. Like Marc Marquez said when he tested the 2013 Toro Rosso car. The braking was total opposite, they required to break earlier on the bike approching the corner to avoid missing their lines. While on the F1 car they usually brake later as M.Webber said to him. Also, F1 car advantage through corners is massive like what J. Lorenzo said when he tested the Mercedes 2014 Championship car at Silverstone. He said that in Gp bike they decelerate to 1st gear while in the F1 car they do it in 3rd gear then accelearate again. No doubt, F1 cars is flying around the circuit. Another facts that you need to know that Gp bikes don’t tell the real info about it’s performance. One time a MotoGp reporter asked former HRC Vice President Shuhei Nakamoto if what is the horsepower of the Rc213v. Nakamoto-san said, enough. Then, the reporter said a number. Nakamoto replied by cheeky smile & said hmmmmmmm…. What more today & the Ducati’s that obviously the most powerful engine in MotoGp for years.

  3. If you want to go fast on track buy a car, if you want to go fast in a straight line buy an aeroplane.

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