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Difference Between MotoGP and Superbikes

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Do you love the thrill of motorcycle racing but struggle to differentiate between MotoGP and Superbikes? While both sports may appear similar to an untrained eye, there are significant differences between them.

The main difference is that MotoGP uses custom-built motorcycles with advanced technology, including quick shifters, traction control, anti-wheelie control, launch control, and engine braking systems. Superbikes, on the other hand, use modified production motorcycles that may not have the same level of technology.

In this article, we will take a closer look at these two exciting sports and highlight their unique features.

What is MotoGP?

Francesco Bagnaia, MotoGP World Champion

MotoGP is a premier-class motorcycle racing championship with custom-built prototypes having high-performance four-stroke engines, advanced electronics, and sophisticated safety features.

The excitement and anticipation build as the custom-built prototypes roar down the track at over 220 mph, leaving fans in awe of the incredible feats of humans and machines.

The riders compete in 19 rounds in different countries and are protected by advanced racing suits incorporating airbags and sensors.

The championship is governed by the FIM, and the riders earn points based on their finishing position in each race, with the MotoGP World Champion being crowned at the end of the season.

What are Superbikes?

French Superbike racer Loris Baz

Superbikes are the ultimate test of production motorcycles and the skills of the riders. The bikes used in this category are based on models available to the public but modified for racing with upgraded engines, suspension, brakes, and other features.

The racing is incredibly close, with riders jostling for position at high speeds and pushing their machines to the limit. Superbike racing is overseen by different organizations across the globe, each with its own unique set of rules and regulations.

With lower costs than MotoGP, it's an opportunity for manufacturers and teams to compete and showcase their technology. For fans, it's a high-speed, adrenaline-fueled spectacle that never fails to impress.

Differences between MotoGP and Superbikes

MotoGP and superbikes are two different types of motorcycle racing, each with unique characteristics. There are several differences between them, including the types of bikes used, the tracks they race on, and the rules and regulations governing the races. Let's look at these differences and see how they impact each sport.

Circuit Design

One of the most significant differences between MotoGP and superbikes is the track design. MotoGP events occur on circuits featuring a mix of fast straights, hairpin bends, and chicanes. Superbike races, on the other hand, take place on traditional race tracks that feature a combination of left and right-hand turns.

Purpose-built vs. production-based

MotoGP bikes are designed and built specifically for racing, whereas superbikes are production motorcycles modified for racing. It means MotoGP bikes are often more technologically advanced, with features such as seamless gearboxes, anti-wheelie systems, and advanced engine management systems not found on superbikes.

Engine capacity

MotoGP bikes have larger engine capacities, with the current limit set at 1000cc. It allows for more power and torque, translating into faster acceleration and higher top speeds. In contrast, superbikes typically have engine capacities ranging from 600cc to 1200cc, with the majority of bikes falling in the 1000cc range.

Top Speed

Due to the higher power output, MotoGP bikes have a higher top speed than superbikes. While superbikes can reach up to 320 km/h, MotoGP bikes can speed up to over 350 km/h.


MotoGP bikes are designed with aerodynamics in mind. They feature a more aggressive riding position, streamlined bodywork, and advanced winglets to improve high-speed cornering and acceleration. On the other hand, superbikes have a more upright riding position, planned for straight-line speed.


MotoGP tires use advanced materials that provide maximum grip and can withstand the extreme forces of racing. Superbike tires, on the other hand, are designed to be more durable, with longer lifespans that allow riders to complete longer races without needing to change tires.

Braking Systems

The braking systems used in MotoGP bikes are some of the most advanced in the world, with carbon fiber brakes that provide incredible stopping power and can withstand high temperatures. Superbikes use more traditional steel brakes that are less powerful but more durable for a long race.


MotoGP bikes have advanced electronic systems that can adjust the bike's performance and handling based on different conditions, such as weather, track conditions, and rider preferences. Superbikes also have electronic systems, but they are not as advanced as those found in MotoGP bikes.

Racing Format

The racing format in MotoGP involves multiple classes and races, with riders competing in timed qualifying sessions to determine the starting grid for the race. In contrast, superbike races typically have a single class and a set number of laps. The race grid is determined by the results of a previous race or by the championship standings.

Comparison Chart: MotoGP Vs Superbike

Types of bikesPrototype racing bikesProduction-based racing bikes
Engine Size1000cc1000cc
Top SpeedOver 220 mphAround 200 mph
WeightUnder 160 kgAround 170-180 kg
HandlingLightweight and agileHeavier, less agile
TiresCustom-built slick tiresProduction-based racing tires
SuspensionHighly adjustableLess adjustable
AerodynamicsAdvanced aerodynamic bodyworkLimited aerodynamic upgrades
TechnologyCutting-edge electronics and rider aidsLimited electronics and rider aids
Qualifying FormatThree 15-minute sessions for each race classTwo 25-minute sessions for each race class
Points System25 points for a win, 20 for a second, and so on25 points for a win, 20 for a second, and so on
Prize MoneyHigher prize money than SuperbikesLower prize money compared to MotoGP
PopularityMore popular globallyPopular in some countries but less popular globally

As you can see, MotoGP and Superbikes take the lead in different ways. However, please be sure that the differences and comparison aspects discussed above may vary depending on specific races and events.


Despite the many differences between MotoGP and Superbikes, some striking similarities exist. For instance, both sports involve high-speed racing on two-wheeled machines, with the riders having to navigate tricky corners and straights while pushing their bikes to the limit.

The bikes used in both forms of racing are also highly engineered, with state-of-the-art technology employed to ensure that they are fast, safe, and reliable.

In addition, MotoGP and Superbikes feature multiple races and competitions throughout the year, with riders competing against one another in various locations around the world.

Lastly, both sports boast a large following of dedicated fans who live and breathe the thrill of motorcycle racing.


Is MotoGP faster than Superbike?

Yes! MotoGP bikes are generally faster than Superbikes due to their higher power-to-weight ratio and superior aerodynamics.

Why is Kawasaki not in MotoGP?

Kawasaki left MotoGP in 2009 due to the global financial crisis and the high costs associated with competing in the series. However, Kawasaki still competes in Superbike racing.

Are all MotoGP bikes 1000cc?

No, the maximum engine displacement for MotoGP bikes was reduced from 1000cc to 800cc in 2007 and then increased to 1000cc again in 2012. In 2016, the maximum engine displacement was further reduced to 1000cc for all bikes.

Why is a MotoGP bike so expensive?

MotoGP bikes are expensive due to their advanced technology and materials, such as carbon fiber and titanium. They are also custom-built machines designed for racing at the highest level, which requires extensive research and development.


In conclusion, while MotoGP and Superbikes may appear similar, significant differences set them apart. From the types of bikes used to the tracks they race on and the rules and regulations governing the races, each sport has its unique characteristics.

MotoGP is the premier class of motorcycle racing, featuring custom-built prototypes with advanced technology, while Superbikes is a test of production motorcycles and the skills of the riders.

Whether you prefer the raw power and speed of MotoGP or the close racing and lower costs of Superbikes, both sports offer an exciting spectacle for fans of motorcycle racing.

Feel free to comment and discuss about the article in the comment space below if you have any information or remarks to add. If you think we made a mistake, you can also report it there.
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About the Author: Nicolas Seignette

Nicolas Seignette, who holds a scientific baccalaureate, began his studies in mathematics and computer science applied to human and social sciences (MIASHS). He then continued his university studies with a DEUST WMI (Webmaster and Internet professions) at the University of Limoges before finishing his course with a professional license specialized in the IT professions. On 10Differences, he is in charge of the research and the writing of the articles concerning technology, sciences and mathematics.
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