MotoGP and Formula 1 are two of the fastest motorsports on the planet. They each come with their own distinct set of challenges, and both sets of drivers/riders are pushed to the limits of themselves and the tracks on which they race. But which is faster?
Formula 1 cars are much faster than MotoGP bikes, and so the lap times for F1 cars are much shorter than those of MotoGP. F1 cars lap much faster than MotoGP bikes because they have much more downforce, which allows them to corner much faster.
But there is a lot more than just shorter lap times to consider when comparing the two motorsports. Aside from the fact that F1 cars have twice as many wheels, there are plenty of other factors that separate F1 and MotoGP! Below, I take a closer look at the differences and similarities between MotoGP and F1.
F1 vs MotoGP: Which Is Fastest?
There are few tracks where both MotoGP and F1 can hold races. But even when they can, there are often some changes made for the bikes. However, there are a few tracks where no changes are required, and these include COTA, the Red Bull Ring, and the Lusail Circuit.
F1 vs MotoGP Lap Times Compared
|Circuit of the Americas||1:36.169||2:03.521||27.352 seconds|
|Red Bull Ring||1:05.619||1:23.827||18.208 seconds|
|Lusail International Circuit||1:23.196||1:54.338||31.142 seconds|
The Differences Between F1 & MotoGP
The main and most obvious difference between MotoGP and Formula 1 is the fact that F1 cars have four wheels while the bikes have two. This presents different challenges for each vehicle, which we will discuss more soon. Aside from the number of tires, the weight of each is also very different. A MotoGP bike weighs around 157 kg on its own (346 lbs), while an F1 car weighs a minimum of 798 kg (1760 lbs) with a driver but no fuel.
Obviously, the car is much bigger than the bike, and this means their engines are also much bigger as well. The bikes use a four cylinder, 1-liter engine, capable of around 250 horsepower. The F1 cars use a 1.6-liter, hybrid V6 engine, which can output around 1000 horsepower. This means the power to weight ratio of the bike is higher than that of the car, but there is much more to it than simply power.
Aerodynamics & Downforce
The aerodynamics and downforce packages of the F1 cars allow for massive cornering speeds, which the bikes just cannot match. Although they are fairly aerodynamic, and can reach high speeds on the straights, the bikes do not have the grip that the F1 cars have.
Riders from MotoGP may take certain corners in second or third gear, and F1 drivers might take the same corners in fifth or sixth gear. The massive amount of downforce the cars generate, paired with the colossal amount of grip at each tire, means F1 cars can take some corners flat out. Although the bikes are often faster accelerating to around 120 mph (190 kph), the F1 car can do this speed through most corners.
KEY POINTS• F1 cars are much faster than MotoGP bikes over the course of a lap
• At some tracks the difference in lap times can be as much as 30 seconds
• This is largely due to the fact F1 cars produce lots of downforce that allows them to corner much faster than bikes
Are F1 & MotoGP Comparable?
The fact that MotoGP bikes have two wheels makes it very difficult to compare them to any car with four. Street bikes are often compared to street cars, but with MotoGP and F1 it is completely different. The bikes used in MotoGP are not a million miles away from the high-end bikes you might find on the street, but F1 cars are about as far away from your road car as you can get.
Big Power Difference
The difference in power is enough to make most people realize that these are two very different breeds of vehicle, but if not then simply looking at the aerodynamics and downforce involved in F1 should make things clear. F1 cars hold the track very well, while motorbikes just by their very nature do not.
The two motorsports rarely visit the same tracks, and when they do there are often changes made to accommodate the bikes. Chicanes are sometimes removed or added for example, and this can make them even harder to compare. F1 cars can take corners at huge speeds due to their downforce capabilities, whereas the riders in MotoGP have to slow down substantially for the turns.
A Different Driving Style
As they take corners, MotoGP riders move their bodies and their knees often touch the ground. F1 drivers are fighting with massive G forces in the turns, but their bodies are not as exposed as those on the bikes. This doesn’t necessarily mean they are safer, but it can make it much easier to commit to corners at high speeds. The extra two tires also mean they have much more grip than the bikes.
The tires themselves are much wider on the cars, and this means the contact patch, and therefore the amount of grip available, is much bigger. MotoGP bikes can top 200 mph (320 kph) on the straights, as can F1 cars, but F1 cars can also take the corners at 100+ mph (160+ kph), while the bikes have to slow down much more.
Do F1 & MotoGP Use Same Tracks?
F1 and MotoGP do use some of the same tracks. However, F1 races on many tracks MotoGP doesn’t use, like Monaco and Spa, while MotoGP races on others that F1 doesn’t visit, like tracks in Indonesia and Argentina. While a track needs an FIA Grade 1 license to host F1, MotoGP tracks require an FIM license.
The tracks F1 and MotoGP both race on include:
- Circuit of the Americas (USA)
- Silverstone (UK)
- Red Bull Ring (Austria)
- Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya (Spain)
- Lusail International Circuit (Qatar)
Tracks both F1 and MotoGP have raced on in the past include:
- Portimao (Portugal)
- Jerez (Spain)
- Mugello (Italy)
- Buddh Circuit (India)
- Sepang (Malaysia)
MotoGP and Formula 1 are two very different sports, although they are both incredibly fast and popular across the world. F1 cars are much faster than any motorcycle around corners due to their high levels of grip and downforce, and although the bikes can often beat them on the straights, this ability to take corners at speed can allow F1 cars to finish laps around 30 seconds faster than the bikes.
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