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Author Topic: FAQ: MotoGP, WSBK, AMA & others explained  (Read 6245 times)
Crashin' mofo
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« on: January 11, 2009, 08:41:58 PM »

The following is a brief summary of some of the different motorcycle racing series, written in 2009 and updated in 2011.  If you have any questions about professional racing or about track riding (even your first time), please post up in the Racing & Trackdays forum.  There are plenty of knowledgeable folks willing to help out or explain.

                                MotoGP -- Grand Prix World Championship              

Official website:  http://www.motogp.com/

MotoGP is the Formula 1 of motorcycle racing.  The bikes are purely prototype machines, not production machines.  The bikes cost a bizillion dollars each and have tons of one-off parts or experimental technology.  They are primarily limited by displacement (cc) and have a minimum weight.  There is a single tire supplier--Bridgestone.  The series is governed by the rules set out by FIM, the governing body of motorcycle racing, though Dorna Sports (from Spain) has the commercial rights.  If you get into MotoGP, you'll likely hear a lot of conspiracy theories about Dorna.  The series is wildly popular throughout the world--especially Spain and Italy--though largely ignored in the US.  In the US, you can watch MotoGP on SpeedTV and sometimes on the broadcast networks.  Do yourself  favor and subscribe to motogp.com to watch the races.  The broadcast is a billion times better.

For 2011, some of the riders you might have heard of include Rossi, Lorenzo, Spies, Stoner, Hayden, Pedrosa (the douchebag), Colin Edwards, etc.  The manufacturer that compete in the MotoGP class are Yamaha, Ducati, Honda and Suzuki (Kawi dropped out at the end of 2008).  Aprilia and KTM used to be common in the smaller classes when those classes were two-strokes (125-250).  They race all around the world in approximately 16 different rounds.  Here is the 2011 Schedule so you can see some of the places they race.


    125cc -- 125cc 2 strokes.  Unless you follow MotoGP closely, you likely won't follow this class.  It's where many of the up-n'-comers cut their teeth before moving up in the bigger classes.  For example, Rossi started on 125s.  There is a lot of really close racing to be found with the 125s.  In 2012, the 125 class is set to become Moto3, with 250cc 4 strokes.    
    Moto2 -- 600cc 4 strokes.  The bikes have spec engines (Honda CBR 600cc) and spec tires (Dunlop), but a prototype chassis.   In 2010, there were chassis by Bimota, Suter & Moriwaki, to name a few.  Unless you follow MotoGP, you probably won't follow this class either.  It has really close racing, a huge grid and some spectacular Turn 1 pile-ups.  This class used to be 250cc 2 strokes, but changed in 2010.  

    MotoGP -- This is the class you've most likely heard of.  It is 800cc 4 stroke bikes.  Up to 2006, the class allowed 990cc bikes.  It was still called MotoGP back then.  For example, the Desmosedici is a street-going version of the 2006 990cc MotoGP bikes before the class switched to 800cc.  The predecessor to the 990cc class was the 500cc two-stroke class.   There were a few years where teams could field either a 990cc four-strokes or a 500cc two-strokes, but they soon realized the 990cc bikes were faster.  Rossi won championships on 500cc, MotoGP (1000cc) and MotoGP (800cc).   There are factory teams, and then satellite teams who rent the bikes from the factory and rely solely on sponsorship for funding.  The official factory teams for '11 are Repsol Honda, ____ (formerly FIAT) Yamaha, Marlboro Ducati, and Rizla Suzuki.  Current riders who have won a MotoGP championship include Rossi, Lorenzo, Stoner and Hayden.  Jorge Lorenzo won the 2010 championship for then-FIAT Yamaha.
Faster is a great video to rent about MotoGP.  It's an absolutely awesome vid to watch, and you'll learn a lot about the series.   The follow-up is called Faster and Faster, followed by the Doctor, the Tornado and the Kentucky Kid.
   The class is set to return to 1000cc bikes in 2012, and there may be some bikes with production engines and prototype chassis (like Moto2).  Some manufacturers may continue to race their 800cc bikes.

            WSBK-- World Superbike  

Official website:  http://www.worldsbk.com/en/home.html

WSBK is a completely different race series than MotoGP, though also governed by FIM.  It's the production bike racing series, i.e.. the bikes are based on productions machines, like the 1098R or the 1198S.  You cannot use prototype machines in this series like you can (and do) in MotoGP.  In some cases, like the 1098R, the street version that is sold to the average customer is *very* similar to the race version.  The size of the bikes depends on the number of cylinders.  For now, 4 cylinder bikes are limited to approximately 1000cc, while 2 cylinder bikes like Ducatis are allowed up to 1200ccs.  That said, the rules are constantly in flux.  Like MotoGP, there are factory teams and satellite or privateer teams.  There is no  factory Duc for 2011.  There is single tire supplier--Pirelli.  They run two back-to-back races on Sunday rather than just one.  

Even though he retired at the end of 2008, Bayliss is the rider you may have heard of.  A lot of the WSBK field is made up of riders who spent some time in MotoGP.   Like MotoGP, WSBK races all around the world, and at many of the same tracks as MotoGP (just not the same weekend).  That said, WSBK is more focused on Europe than MotoGP.  Here is the 2011 Schedule to give you a idea where WSBK races.  There are other classes/series that run along with WSBK -- like World Supersport (600cc). You'll find most big manufacturers in this series--Yamaha, Honda, Ducati, Suzuki, Kawasaki, Aprila, BMW.  No Harleys though.  Ducati has absolutely dominated WSBK for a long time now, even before Bayliss, though the last two championships were won by Yamhaa (2009 with Spies) and Aprilia (2010 with Biaggi).  WSBK is currently having a resurgence in popularity, in part because there's often close racing and truly crazy moves by competitors who aren't quite in their right minds.  All good stuff.  waytogo  In the US, you can catch WSBK on SpeedTV.

A good video to watch is Troy's story, a documentary on Troy Bayliss.  He rode in WSBK and MotoGP, so it's not limited to just WSBK.  But it's excellent.   waytogo

             AMA -- American Motorcycle Association Superbike Championship

Official website:  http://www.amasuperbike.com/

This is the US series.  The bikes are based on production machines.  There are 1000 and 600 classes.  The Superbike class is what you've likely heard of.  It used to be pretty been much dominated by Suzuki and the GSXR 1000 with Mat Mladin and Ben Spies.  DMG (who runs NASCAR) took over in 2009 and the series went downhill FAST.  It’s currently on an upswing, with really good racing.  The field is made up of factory teams (though not all the factories compete) , privateer teas who run the entire series (some, like Jordan Suzuki, are very well funded), and often a lot of local amateur racers (called club racers), who only show up when the AMA comes to their local track(s).
The classes are:
American Superbike:   1000cc (the big bikes)
Daytona Sportbike:   600cc and occasionally some out-of-place Buell
Supersport:   600cc with age restrictions.  It’s the up-n-coming kids.
XR1200:  Harleys
Dunlop is the single tire supplier in AMA for 2011.  AMA races can be found on SpeedTV and occasionally network television.

 Daytona 200   (courtesy of Cider)      
The Daytona 200 (www.daytonainternationalspeedway.com) is an annual 200-mile race held at the Daytona International Speedway in Florida that dates back to the mid-20th century.  Today, it's basically just an endurance race in AMA for the Daytona Sportbike class (see: AMA Pro Racing), but it used to be a race that attracted worldwide attention.  Notable past winners include Scott Russell, Miguel Duhamel, Kevin Schwantz, Wayne Rainey, Freddy Spencer, Kenny Roberts, and Giacomo Agostini.

                                Isle of Man   (courtesy of Cider)
The Isle of Man Tourist Trophy (www.iomtt.com) is a race that is held yearly on an island in the Irish Sea.  Running since the early 1900s, the IOMTT used to be part of the Grand Prix World Championship series, but that ended in the mid-1970s due to safety concerns.  The race is run in a time-trial format on a public road circuit, of which each lap is about 38 miles long.  There are actually several classes run each year, including some for sidecars.  Famous TT winners include Mike Hailwood, Joey Dunlop, Giacomo Agostini, Steve Hislop, Geoff Duke, John Surtees, and Carl Fogarty.  John McGuinness and Ian Hutchinson are two contemporary stars of the IOMTT.  Discovery HD Theater usually air TT footage in America, although some races may be shown weeks (or even months) after the event.

If you have any questions, please post up in the Racing & Trackdays forum.
« Last Edit: February 22, 2011, 11:58:33 AM by Spidey » Logged

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