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-   -   World Superbike vs. Formula 1 (http://www.motorcycle.com/forum/showthread.php?t=544)

Lincoln 05-01-2001 09:01 AM

Re: World Superbike vs. Formula 1
 
there really is no comparison. 20 seconds each lap? but i think the bike riders have a much more difficult job - the cars do a lot of the work for their riders

dickdastardly 05-01-2001 09:07 AM

Re: World Superbike vs. Formula 1
 
What a difference not slowing down for

the corners makes.

Gixxerboy 05-01-2001 09:17 AM

Re: World Superbike vs. Formula 1
 
I'm not certain the bikers have a more difficult job... just different. At this level of racing all drivers/riders are pushing the limits of their machines. In this field.. and only in this field... do cars have the edge on bikes. Just look at the difference in hp/lb and the amount of rubber each machine has in contact with the pavement. I'm afraid we bikes get kicked by the better machine for the job.



I wonder what would happen if there were NO restrictions on bike and car design (car turbos, bike engine size etc). There's a thought to ponder.



HOWEVER, when you look at production machines and off road, the cagers cannot keep up in anything ;-)






RobGixxer750 05-01-2001 09:37 AM

Funny
 
This is quite odd. I think that someone from MO must read Sportbikeworld.com forums :) I posted this just last night, where there was a big discussion about how ignorant riders think that they are incredibly faster in the turns than cars. Almost any very small car with a decent suspension set up can out corner most bikes on the street. Bikes are amazingly fast considering out contact patch, and our limitations. Formula 1 has so much downforce, it's a big joke, no way a bike could even barely do half the corner speed they can carry. Not to mention they out accelerate, out brake bikes in a big way. Bikes are limited, because we are consantly fighting due to the light weight, and general instability of being on two wheels.



I have a big thread at Sportbikeworld.com about it http://www.sportbikeworld.com/showth...&threadid=9274



Rob

RonXX 05-01-2001 09:37 AM

Re: World Superbike vs. Formula 1
 
The difference between bike times from 1st to 8th is just over 1 second. The difference for the cars is almost 2.5......i think we all know which type of racing is more fun to watch.

minime 05-01-2001 11:48 AM

Re: Funny
 
Very funny coincidence. HackFu just watched the Formula 1 race last night on Speedvision and was telling me about it this morning. I decided to go to www.formula1.com to check things out and saw that they were testing at Valencia. I then went back to an old news.mo post to see what the lap time differential was. Needless to say, I was shocked. I thought some readers might get a kick out of the disparity as well, so I posted it.



I will go check out that thread you started, though. I'm curious to see what others are saying. Thanks!

hindle 05-01-2001 11:56 AM

Re: World Superbike vs. Formula 1
 
What a hornets nest you stirred up this time MO. Your damn right "Compare" isn't the right word. First, bikes against cars? Might as well compare apples against oranges. F1 against WSBK. There again might as well be apples an oranges. When was the last time you saw someone driving down the street in what looked like Miki Hakkinen McLaren? Never. I see Ducks and RC51's quite a bit. Comparing a machine based on a $10,000 dollar street version to a machine that isn't based on anything at all. Did you expect WSBK times to be better or even close? F1 is another world. There isn't a bike series that even comes close to the statue of F1. Not even GP's.



Well if you wanted to get some hits to the site you did. Congrats.

minime 05-01-2001 12:10 PM

Re: World Superbike vs. Formula 1
 
Actually, HackFu drives a McLaren so we see one every day. There's a lot of F1 cars roaming the streets down here. Makes Monte Carlo and the French Riviera look rather ghetto if you ask me. GP bikes everywhere here, too.



We'll be sure to clear all posts with you in the future.

hackfu 05-01-2001 12:12 PM

Re: World Superbike vs. Formula 1
 
Hey minime, you're "A" compound tires just came in from Michelin, should I have the crew do the swap out?



Oh yea, don't ride the GP bike, the gold leaf coating on the inside of the fairing is getting loose. I guess I should be more careful on the freeway.

marcel_g 05-01-2001 12:23 PM

Re: World Superbike vs. Formula 1
 
The cars will always win out in terms of sheer lap times because they have the advantage of aerodynamic down forces and the much lower angle between the center of gravity and the outside rubber contact patch to allow them to corner at much higher speeds. It's an inherent limitation in a motorcycle.



However, bike racing is much better to watch because racers actually pass each other, and because the results in bike races depend much more on the rider than they do on the driver in car racing.

Abe_Froman 05-01-2001 12:32 PM

F1 easier?
 
I would have to disagree that F1 drivers have it a lot easier.... If we were talking about NASCAR drivers (don't get me wrong, I still love to watch Dale Jr. and Michael Waltrip) then you might have a point. F1 drivers, on the other hand, need virtually supernatural control to achieve the lap times that they do. Only now are the driver's jobs starting to get somewhat easier, since traction control has been partially deregulated (although who's to say whether someone was using it before anyway?)

Abe_Froman 05-01-2001 12:43 PM

Production cars
 
I agree that it's not hard to get a regular street car to hang with a bike in the corners (although there are few showroom-stock cars that can. Modifications are usually neccessary.) All you really need is a Civic with lowering springs, stiffer shocks, larger anti-roll bars, and 17-inch wheels/tires.



I think one of the reasons that bikes are as fast as they are, considering their limitations, is the quality of the tires and suspensions. High-performance street motorcycle tires are much softer, better engineered, and don't last nearly as long as a comparable car tire. The average sportbike also has suspension design and quality that is light years ahead of the average family car that costs three times as much. Most automobiles are agricultural in design compared with a modern sportbike. That's why you need to spend upwards of 6 times the price for a stock automobile with similar quality and handling.

TitaniumCanoe 05-01-2001 12:57 PM

Re: World Superbike vs. Formula 1
 
True, bike racing is more pure one-on-one racing. But, F1 is more of a team sport involving strategy, pit work, etc. Anyway, both are great to watch.



By the way MO, this is the kind of news item/story that really moves you up the scale and makes the contribution worthwhile.

CarsSuck 05-01-2001 01:00 PM

Bike takes more skill
 
Formula 1 is a video game. There may be as much or more risk, but it doesn't take more skill. I'm not saying it doesn't take a lot, more than I have--but no way does it take more than bikes. There's no real physical skill, and for that matter F1 cars are fly-by-wire. It's a video game, except you can get hurt. Compare body fat percentages of F1 drivers and roadracers--now that'd be interesting. And someone said bikes are limited by contact patch. Compared to F1, yes, but most small streetcars do not have more contact patch per pound than a bike, and the bike needs less proportionally (lighter requires a smaller ratio). The limitation of bikes is how far you can lean. Motorcycle riders take it all the way over, and then that's it--any faster would widen the turn. The problem is not lack of contact patch though. Lots of cars can be made to have a bike-like power-to-weight ratio, but they can't accelerate because they're spinning all that contact patch while a bike just takes off. Less weight requires a smaller traction surface-to-weight ratio, and motorcycles still have a better ratio than most small street cars. An F1 "car" is a purpose built vehicle that happens to use 4 wheels, and uses kazillions of dollars more than motorcycle racing has available. And anyway, they should've waited for GP lap times, or for a better "comparison" show the street-based race cars' times against superbike.

kermy20 05-01-2001 01:54 PM

Re: Production cars
 
Looks like it's time for motorcycle designers to start incorporating extra surfaces for dowforce...imagine light, hydraulically controlled surfaces near the bottom of the bike that change angle based on the lean of the bike (self-levelling spoilers to increase contact force). Even, just aerodynamics that allow for better airflow around corners, and such...



Dunno if it would ever happen, but it'll be cool if it did...

BBD_Racing 05-01-2001 02:05 PM

Re: World Superbike vs. Formula 1
 
Cool story, MO.



As for you wankers who think F1 is easy, well, I don't think I can educate you in a paragraph.



For the open minded consider this:



1) Michael Shumacher is (or is pretty cloase to) being the highest paid athlete in history.



2) Most moto racers had a tough time when trying to race cars.



3) Cars are FAR more complex in terms of setup. Anybody who knows anything about top level racing of any kind knows that setup requires an excellent machine, crew AND pilot.



4) Paraphrased Schwantz quote (remember, he had a rough time in NASCAR): "It is much harder to set up a car than a bike. On a bike, I can compensate for poor setup choices to a far greater extent than I can in a car."



Being a top auto racer is pretty tough and in some ways similar to moto racers. Don't fool yourself into thinking that it is easy on the body either. Ever try to take 3g's laterally, over and over and over and over again? Ever try to survive having your heart rate at 170bpm+ for 40 minutes?



These guys are just as incredible as our moto boys.



Still, I agree, bikes are much more fun to watch.

hondachop 05-01-2001 02:30 PM

Re: World Superbike vs. Formula 1
 
Someone mentionned that Superbikes are production-based racers, while Formula 1 cars are built without any regard for real-world limitations-good point. Basically, if I had enough money, I could buy a stock sport bike and make it pretty close to a Superbike racer, while no amount of money would give me a car with the aerodynamics, power-to-weight ratio, and handling of an F1 car. It would be interesting to compare lap times for production-based bikes and cars - say, Superbikes vs. NASCAR or something. Are there any tracks in the world where both compete?

On another note, I guess the fact that a motorcycle can't hold as much speed through a corner is why there is more passing and the racing is so much more interesting to watch (IMHO, anyway). Because cornering speed is so dependent on choice of line, lean angle, guts to hold off the brakes, or whatever, there are a lot more opportunities to pass.

And finally, someone suggested a body fat comparo between F1 drivers and WSB riders - sounds entertaining to me. While you have the old BF calipers out, why not do a MO staffer vs print journalist body fat comparison? Let's see if sitting in front of a computer all day has made you guys soft. ;)

z_mo 05-01-2001 02:36 PM

Re: World Superbike vs. Formula 1
 
They both compete at Sears Point, and I think the bikes are faster than NASCAR cars, but not by much. Don't quote me on that, though. I'll dig through our race team notes for lap times and see what the NASCAR time is a the Point.



Or, we could just ask John Cardinel (sp?), the Sears Point media guy...

TeamProBono 05-01-2001 03:40 PM

Re: NASCAR vs. AMA Superbike
 
You can't compare times at Sears because NASCAR runs a shorter track using a section called "The Chute," running from Turn 4 to Turn 7. FWIW--NO other organization that uses Sears is allowed to run on this "hallowed" stretch of pavement. Also, even if you used the full Sears configuration from older NASCAR rounds, the AMA has always run a chicane (or two) before Turn 1 because of the lack of run-off room in Turn 1. NASCAR never had any such chicane. Finally, the AMA has now gone and cut-off some of the run from Turn 10 to Turn 11 to increase run-off room, so now the AMA has a different configuration with only the Turn 1 chicane (but no "Turn 12" chicane).



Nevertheless, I think NASCAR was 7 to 12 seconds faster (although that's pointless).

wwalkersd 05-01-2001 04:35 PM

Re: World Superbike vs. Formula 1
 
hondachop wrote:

It would be interesting to compare lap times for production-based bikes and cars - say, Superbikes vs. NASCAR or something.



NASCAR is no more production based than 500 GP (though I admit it's much lower tech), with the exception that the cars carry bodywork that somewhat resembles a production car. Every Winston Cup car uses a tube frame carrying a longitudinally mounted pushrod V-8 driving the rear wheels through a solid axle. All of the corresponding production cars use unibody (monocoque, no frame) construction, and most, if not all, use a transversely mounted V-6 driving the front wheels.



A series that uses actual production bodyshells would be a better comparison to SBK. Maybe the Speedvision GT series qualifies, I'm not sure.

bigfoot 05-01-2001 04:37 PM

Re: World Superbike vs. Formula 1
 
Reading this story reminded me of an article I once read in Car and Driver magazine, so I went into my collection and pulled out the December 1996 issue. C&D and Cycle World did a comparo test on a Dodge Viper GTS and a Yamaha YZF1000 where they evaluated them in different performance tests. In all the straight line tests, the Yami smoke the Viper (no surprise) with a 1/4 mile of 10.4 @ 132 mph versus a 12.3 @ 115. The same results resulted in top gear 50-70 mph (3.0 s vs. 10.8) and braking from 70-0 (154 ft vs. 172). The Viper redeemed itself on the roadcourse, however. The editors chose a 55 mile section of the Angeles Crest Highway where the car and bike made seperate timed runs. The Viper beat the YZF by 12 seconds and averaged 3.2 mph faster. They also used the 2.5 mile Willow Springs for more testing. Result: Viper, 1:33.8; Yamaha, 1:36.3. The Yamaha used race compound tires while the Viper used Michelin Pilot DOT tires. A couple of interesting notes about the race course was that the Viper hit 138 mph at the end of the 1/2 mile straight vs. 134 on the bike, and car was quicker from 100-120 mph (2.3 vs 2.6) than the bike. The test was conducted by the editors of the respective magazines, Csaba Csere for C&D and Brian Catterson for CW. Of course the biggest performance gap was in the price; the Viper costs more than 7 times the $9799 for the Yamaha.

I think that the bottom line is that the car's prodigious traction inspires much more confidence in its driver especially on public roads, and its more aerodynamic design gives the car better acceleration at high speeds.

hola 05-01-2001 05:07 PM

Re: World Superbike vs. Formula 1
 
Damon Hill started out racing motorcycles... and when a TV host asked him what car he would like to own, his reply was "you mean, what bike?"




gpfanatic21 05-01-2001 05:58 PM

Re: World Superbike vs. Formula 1
 
I have that magazine too. Sure that YZF1000R got the paint sucked off it on the road course. The best lap time it posted was a 1:36.3. Heck, the thing weighs over 500 lbs with fuel, has a low-tech chassis, and the muffler drags in right-hand corners. I'm not saying it's not a good bike, it's just that sportbikes have progressed so much even since then that the lap times around Willow have dropped like 10 seconds! Motorcyclist, Sport Rider, Cycle World, etc. have recorded 1:26s on R1s, GSX-R1000s and 750s, and even R6s. I challenge any Viper, Corvette Z06, Mustang Cobra R, even a Ferrari 360 Modena to beat a 1:26 at Willow Springs.

The Viper's aerodynamics are not what allowed it to accelerate harder at high speed. It was the 450 horsepower under the hood compared to the 127 that the YZF was putting out. Ford Focuses (Foci?) are pretty aerodynamic, but you won't see any of them closing the gap on an SV650 above 100 mph.

The car's main advantage at Willow was on the brakes going into turn 9. Trail braking in a car is much less sphincter clenching than on a bike, since there is no danger of falling out of the car when the front wheels lose grip. For that matter, there is way more grip in the front end of the car anyway, which allows more forces to be applied. I.E.: you can brake way harder while turning in a car than on a bike. And in F1, there is the added grip from wings and venturi tunnels which stretch their advantage further.

Here's a great test: Ferrari F1 car vs Reynard/Honda Champ car vs Ford Mustang Cobra R street car vs Honda NSR500 vs Honda RC51 in full Superbike trim vs GSX-R1000 streetbike.

How 'bout it, MO?

gpfanatic21 05-01-2001 06:16 PM

Re: World Superbike vs. Formula 1
 
Yeah, the cars do a lot of the work for them, but those drivers are still are incredible athletes. Just watch the Japanese GP (F1) from last year. At Suzuka there is a fast left hander at the end of the back straight called 130R. The GP bikes scream through there at 130-140 mph in fourth gear, and it looks frickin' fast on TV. But then you watch an F1 driver like Mika Hakkinen or Michael Schumacher absolutely flick his car in there at 190+ and you realize that these guys have something we don't. These men have some kind of reaction time to flick it in there the same way every lap. And they pull 3-4Gs through the fastest corners, lap after lap. Pushing the limits of any vehicle, whether it's a bike or a car, requires the operator to have extremely sensitive feel for what the machine is doing. That applies to 280lb, 195hp 500GP bikes and 1300lb, 840hp F1 cars. I don't think driving an F1 car requires less skill than riding a Superbike or GP bike, just different skill.

floundericiousFL 05-01-2001 06:40 PM

Re: World Superbike vs. Formula 1
 
I think the GP500s made the laps in about 49 seconds at valencia last year! :-O



Bikes may be slower INTO a turn, but damn do they launch faster out of it ;)

suicyco 05-01-2001 07:08 PM

Re: World Superbike vs. Formula 1
 
Damon Hill rode bikes before he started racing cars

CarsSuck 05-01-2001 09:33 PM

Yeah, but when do you see...
 
a Formula 1 driver take a GP bike out for a spin? I don't know, maybe they do and I just haven't heard of it. I've heard of GP racers being offered the opportunity to take F1 cars for a spin though, several times. In fact, one of them spun a car I think. Sure, it obviously takes skill. It's a lot of power to control. But you don't steer it with your body, and you're still sitting in a chair. I wouldn't expect any motorcycle racers to just jump into cars and be able to be competitive--just like THERE'S NO WAY a car driver can jump on a bike and not be lapped by backmarkers unless he was previously a motorcycle racer. There are probably lots of GP racers who would suck at ping pong too, because it's a whole different skill. I do have to take a slight offense to the salary comment--I really don't see what his salary has to do with anything--I'm sure Tiger Woods makes lots of money too but golf still isn't a real sport. Sure I respect F1, I even like it--but compared to motorcycle racing? No way. Your Schwantz quote basically says that being competitive with a car depends more on the car, compared to motorcycle racing where it's more of the rider. Think about what he's really saying there. F1 drivers just as incredible as motorcycle racers? Sure. Whatever.

echo 05-01-2001 09:42 PM

Re: World Superbike vs. Formula 1
 
Of interest may be ?

Troy Bayliss a 1'33'' lap of Philip Island in the recent sbk race qualifing on a dry track on the sat

Cars competing in our production based V8 supercar series ran 1' 34''s in qualifing and 1'32 in a top ten shoot out which is the same format as super pole were bayliss managed a 1'33''.576''' in the weather

these cars are well modified and run imported small block chevy engines in the general motors holden for example .On the same track .

echo 05-01-2001 09:52 PM

Re: World Superbike vs. Formula 1
 
bayliss and corser both lapped @1'33''s in practice for Philip Island while our production racing cars the V8supercars (similar to Nascar) lap@1'34''s but run

1'32''s in a super pole style shoot out

spindizzy 05-02-2001 12:19 AM

Re: World Superbike vs. Formula 1
 
To be exact the lap record (set in 1999 - the weather has been bad for the last 2 years) was 1:33.019 by Troy Corser. With decent weather it would have dropped in to the low 32's or possibly the high 31s.



Which is the other thing to remember about laptimes - unless they're taken on the same day at the same time they are pretty meaningless except as a rough guide. Also the Australian V8 Supercars are expensive pure race cars with little semblance other than body to race cars. GTP (GT Production)cars would be the closest to superbikes or maybe supersport if you wanted to give the cars a chance.

MoMo 05-02-2001 03:06 AM

right on
 
right on minime. Hindle has proven himself on many occasions to be a major A-hole.

Not_Anonymous_Squid 05-02-2001 03:11 AM

Re: World Superbike vs. Formula 1
 
Didn't the viper also wear out its (expensive) tyres very quickly?

Copper 05-02-2001 03:41 AM

Re: World Superbike vs. Formula 1
 
The Viper Blew Up, actually.


Gixxerboy 05-02-2001 04:43 AM

Re: World Superbike vs. Formula 1
 
Don't forget that the road course (track) had sand blown all over it from near-by construction and that both the car and bike started the Angels Crest on cold tires. Car's tires warm up in moments whilst the bike's take far longer. Given different environmental , the results would have been different.

Cars are less subject to lowsiding (!) as their tire contact patch spans about 20 sq meters and a bikes about 20 sq cm's thus are less concerned about crap on the roads whilst a bike can loose it's precarious balance pretty easily.



THe other point is that the car was toast at the end. Not only did it blow it's engine but it's brakes were gone and the tires were toast.

Gixxerboy 05-02-2001 04:51 AM

Re: World Superbike vs. Formula 1
 
We had this discussion before and one post (forget his name but gotta thank him for the link!!!) attached the following link. It's a vid of a Porsche 911 running 'round the nurmburgring (sp?) taken by the camera on the tank of a modified Yam R1 - I think the only bike mods were Ohlins suspension components and prob no mods to the car. The coolest thing is to see the bike shifting 'round 7k rpm whilst the 911 is running as hard as he can... when the bike gets tired of sitting around, he completely looses the car.

Now, I don't know the relative abilities of the driver/riders but this is a pretty good example of 'real road' comparisions.

Check it out - the vids are awesome



http://www.motorcycle-dk.com/en/multimedia/




Arrow 05-02-2001 05:00 AM

Re: World Superbike vs. Formula 1
 
I remember an issue of Sport Bike back in 93-94 where they compared a CBR 900RR and an Acura NSX in Willow Springs. I can't recall the name of the driver now (think his last name was Parker), but he is a very talented person and races Indy Cars. Nick Ienatch rode the CBR and the bike was faster in the track by a considerable margin. The most interesting thing was that the car was only 1-2 mph faster through tightest chicanes.



As for the YZF1000 vs. Viper story, the YZF was not running well as it only posted a top speed of 154 or so mph. That may explain the 100-120 mph roll-on difference perhaps. A year or two ago, a German bike magazine (I think it was Motorrad) compared a Viper GTS and an R1 in Nurgburgring(did I spell that correctly?) and R1 defeated the Viper. Its results somewhat mirrored the Sport Bike test, the bike was faster and it was only 1-3 kph slower in tight turns. I don't know German so I decided not to buy the magazine, I wish I had!



British BIKE mag, compared a Subaru WSX with a four wheel drive 250-260 horsepower car (before anyone scoffs at this, consider that these cars outrun Porches, Ferraris in real world conditions) and an R1. The bike was faster again, and the car driver said that if the car driver tried to match the bikes speed on the street he would definitely land in jail! To make a point, the brand new tires on the car were finished in a couple of hundred of miles during the test yet the bike's had plenty of life left in them.



If the roads are good, a good ridden bike will take off. But if the conditions are bad (diesel, hydraulic spills, rain etc) then we have no chance. I own a 2000 ZX6R and a 2001 Ford Focus with ESP and I am amazed at the confidence I get from the car during slippery conditions. Still, the feeling can never match the satisfaction I get from my bike whenever I get a corner half-right. Bikes rule!!!


BBD_Racing 05-02-2001 05:15 AM

Re: Yeah, but when do you see...
 
There is this misguided impression that going fast on any racing machine is all about a crew building a machine and a pilot wringing it out. As if the machine "just gets built" by magical money-powered engineers without the pilot involved.



Sorry, ain't that way. The pilot's ability to be a "flight engineer" is crucial. Lots of people can go fast. To be a champion at F1 or GP takes someone who can ride fast, think, and be an engineer the whole while. Schumacher is paid his huge salary because he singlehandedly turned the Ferrari effort around. He did for Ferrari what Doohan did for HRC. The main difference being that engineering in a car is FAR more complex than a bike.



"Sitting in a chair." Geeze, I bet you'd say the same thing to aerobatic aviators.

la_picker 05-02-2001 05:17 AM

Re: World Superbike vs. Formula 1
 
Hmmm..sounds like you guys have our interest all peaked for a car vs. bike shootout! You know..like best production sports car against the winner of the latest open-class bike shootout at one of the major tracks like Laguna Seca. If you issued an open challenge to the guys at car & driver magazine or a similar publication I'll bet that someone would pick up the gauntlet.

das 05-02-2001 05:20 AM

Re: Real-world cars vs. real-world bikes
 
Having ridden a motorcycle on the track a few times, and having driven in a couple SCCA events, I have some amateur-only experience. My general take on cars vs. bikes on the track for average schmoes like me is that:



In the car, I'm within about 5-10% of the top SCCA guys in my class, lap-time-wise. On the bike, I'm not even within 30% of club racer lap times. So, my humble opinion is that, setting aside the super-high-end stuff like F-1 and GP bikes, riding a real-world bike fast requires much more skill than driving a real-world car fast. But, then again, maybe I'm just a lousy rider and/or a decent driver.



As for the street... friends and co-workers are usually confused when I tell them that I can drive my car (1993 Eagle Talon Turbo AWD) slightly faster through the twisties than I can ride my bike (1996 VFR). A lot of the reason is things like bad road surfaces, and the reality that there might be a deer standing in the middle of the road around the next corner. I haven't tried to calculate the relative weight-to-contact-patch ratios, but the bike wins power-to-weight hands down, of course. The fact is, though, that I can drive the car at it's traction and power limits with relative ease. Not so with the bike. Not even close.



So, I have a lot more respect for bike racers and their skills, than I do for most car racers.



Just my $0.02.


BarryW 05-02-2001 05:27 AM

Re: World Superbike vs. Formula 1
 
In lower forms of racing, bike riders are generally more fit and skilled. Many car racing series reward the ability to use your vehicle as a weapon against competitors whose courage to retaliate is often damped by the depth of their bank account. I don't consider that to be a valid driving skill. Bike racers, on the other hand, must respect the proximity of competing machinery lest they risk self-elimination. It's also common to see portly, gray haired, well funded 50-somethings as serious contenders in many forms of auto racing; not so in motorcycle roadracing. F1 is a different story and the top drivers are truly world-class athletes with the requisite genetics to do what few humans are capable of.



The distinction I've always made between top level bike and car drivers is the personal injury risk factor. Equipment failure, track hazards, and misjudgement all carry a heavier penalty on motorcycles. While learning their craft, car racers can spin out and run off track hundreds of times without incident. Each similar scenario for a bike racer in training and the consequent highside or body tumble, carries an immeasurably higher price. No top level bike racer gets there without already suffering permanent injuries and many of the best prospects never make it to the top for that reason alone. Even after whatever short career he manages to achieve, it's the exception rather than the rule that a bike racer gets to retire on his own terms. The norm is loss of physical ability as a result of injury, not the slow attrition of skill caused by the aging process. As someone observed above, compare the number of bike racers that retire to cars to the number of car racers that retire to bikes.



I'll always have more admiration for the bike racers because of the gymnastic precision and superhuman reflexes they possess, all exercised with the courage to face likely injury or worse as the penalty for any miscue.


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