But for many fans, MotoGP is the true pinnacle of motorsport. The seven-time champion Marc Márquez (29), who is missing this year due to injury, knows why: “In MotoGP the driver is much more important than the bike, in Formula 1 it’s the other way around. That’s why MotoGP is more interesting and pure emotion.”
MotoGP stars like the reigning champion and championship leader Fabio Quartararo (23) are heroes on two wheels. Because there are no crumple zones on the motorcycles, there is always a risk. “Bikes are getting faster and faster,” explains the Frenchman.
“On long straights we already reach more than 360 km/h.” It’s almost surprising that so little is happening. The Motorcycle World Championship has seen 104 deaths since it was introduced in 1949. In the top class it was “only” 29.
But the motorcycle world championship is also working on safety. A small airbag has been on board for two years. Nevertheless, the bikers get injured again and again. The last victim: Suzuki driver Alex Rins (26/ESP/World Championship seventh), who broke his left wrist in an accident at the start of the race in Barcelona.
The most prominent example of the suffering of fast bikers is Marc Márquez. When he came to MotoGP in 2013, he became champion right away – despite being only 20 years old at the time. He has won a total of seven titles, targeting Valentino Rossi’s record (nine titles).
But now he is a permanent guest in the hospital. After his fourth operation on his upper right arm, the Spaniard is currently out. There were also two shoulder surgeries and two bone transplants. He is also repeatedly plagued by double vision – all consequences of falls.
Nevertheless, the MotoGP bikes are clearly slower than Formula 1. The highest speed ever measured (362.4 km/h by Johann Zarco 2021) is only around ten km/h short of the automotive premier class. But the cornering speeds are significantly lower. On a lap in Spielberg, for example, that amounts to 20 seconds.
The performance data is still impressive: the motorcycles have between 250 and 290 hp, but also weigh only 157 kilograms (without the driver). The performance limit is less specified by the framework data – i.e. the 1000 cubic centimeter displacement or the maximum four cylinders – but by physics.
“We can’t really bring the power to the tarmac,” explains Fabio Quartararo, “because otherwise the front wheel would lift off. And we have to brake very early, because otherwise the rear wheel would push upwards.” The full power of the electronics is only used on the long straights in top gear.
However, overtaking is not a problem in MotoGP – compared to a Formula 1 racer, the bikes have less downforce, a braking distance that is up to 200 meters longer and are 1.3 meters narrower. And the balance of power is balanced: five drivers from four manufacturers won the first nine races.
In Germany, all three classes can be seen on free TV – on Servus-TV. The MotoGP is scheduled for Sunday (June 19) at 2 p.m., the Moto2 race with Marcel Schrötter at 12.20 p.m