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Blog 07/18/17 #25
As a racer, I love watching a wide variety of racing over the average casual fan. I’ll enjoy just about any race that has good coverage you can follow from world level down to local club racing. I believe you can learn something from every category, they each have something to offer. When it comes to the rivalry between MotoGP and World Superbike, there are some major differences, but at the heart is good competitive motorcycle racing.
MotoGP is the pinnacle of the entire sport, with three classes comprised of Moto3 (250cc), Moto2 (600cc), and MotoGP (1000cc) bikes. The top class, allows for prototype purpose built racebikes which are the fastest on the planet. It’s very much like a Formula 1 atmosphere for motorcycles, with the newest trends and technologies coming out of this arena. Factory teams such as Ducati, Yamaha, Honda, KTM, and Aprilia, and Suzuki all compete in MotoGP currently and recently the series has seen a few new manufacturers get into the action. In past years, a handful of rider and team combinations largely dominated the competition. New sporting regulations have helped to bridge the gap between the satellite teams that operate without factory support, which has given birth to some tremendous battles. Since these bikes are prototypes, it’s virtually impossible to purchase one of these unless you have a few million dollars cash in the bank. These machines are valued around 2 million each, with tens of millions going into a single team program per year of development, operation, and travel expenses.
The two lower classes act as feeder programs towards to ultimate class, but a hotly contested series like this brings talent from well over a dozen countries. Only the crème of the crop advance to higher rankings here. In recent years, one of America’s best Josh Herrin, the reigning 2013 AMA Superbike Champion got his shot at Moto 2 for the 2014 season. Although he didn’t do exceedingly well in his first international season, his team gave him the boot and took on another rider who didn’t do much better than Josh. It was a very disappointing time for the American fans who didn’t feel he was given a real shot. Given some extra time to get up to speed, Josh could’ve been our next American racer on the world stage.
Moto 3 racing is some of the most exciting and close competitions you’ll ever see in racing. Due to extreme drafting and their lightweight bikes, it’s common to have large packs and groups of riders. At Mugello in Italy earlier this year, there were 21 riders being covered under 3.5 seconds at the finish line of a full-length 20 lap race. Overtakes happen at just about every other corner in a race like this. Lead changes seem to be an inevitable lap by lap occurrence in this field. While I did own a 250, I haven’t yet had the pleasure of racing in the lightweight category. I would be a decent candidate with my low weight at 145lbs but being 6’ tall gives me a slight disadvantage. I wonder how I would’ve fared in these battles.