Updated 12th February 2020 and we have turned it up to “11” (a la Spinal Tap!)
#1 The bravest of them all
In the words of Jorge Lorenzo MotoGP riders are braver and I happen to agree with him on this.
When you have just two wheels with a maximum width of 190 millimetres on the rear compared with 470 millimetres for the rear F1 tyres– there is little room for error when flying around a race track. There is nothing but leathers between your flesh and the hard, hard bitumen.
In reality a MotoGP pilot’s knees are literally sliding across the track surface when cornering, destroying their knee padding– you just don’t see that in F1.
While safety is of utmost importance the fact remains there’s no cockpit or car to protect the riders from hitting the ground at full speed.
Should they crash into each other, it’s body against machine not machine against machine. Because of this in terms of adrenaline pumping death defying action, MotoGP is just simply the more exciting of the two hands down.
#2 the power of the people
While for decades MotoGP has been hidden in the shadows of the media rights, massive sponsorship (e.g. Rolex) and financial backing (from the likes of billionaires such as Bernie Ecclestone) for F1 things are changing.
Now that we have round the clock access to many other information outlets online, we are seeing a huge climb in fan numbers.
Even though the major networks still hold F1 up as the preferred motorsport it has taken a very short period of time for MotoGP to gain more viewing popularity without the mass media rights and sponsorship backing now the footage is available to people on their terms.
This can be seen in the amount of followers MotoGP has on social media platforms.
Currently on Facebook MotoGP almost doubles the F1 fans at 13 million compared with F1 at just 7 million.
MotoGP is also in the lead on YouTube with 1.86 million (compared with F1 at 1.8 million) and Instagram with 6.4 million MotoGP fans beating out the 5.5 million F1 followers.
Twitter is the only one in which F1 still takes the lead with 3.74 million compared to MotoGP’s 2.48 million.
A main contributor to this rise in followers was the introduction of MotoGP’s Video Pass allowing fans to stream and view the races at their leisure; something that was lacking in the F1 world.
It has taken F1 around 7 years to match this service when in 2018 F1 bosses decided to make their own version of Video Pass hoping to regain some viewer popularity- only time will tell if that’s the way it works.
#3 MotoGP: a better financial choice
Recently Sepang announced it was dropping F1 and retaining MotoGP as a better financial option for Malaysia.
Rapidly falling numbers in attendance at F1 and the exorbitant costs for hosting the event ($75mil for F1 compared with $10m for MotoGP) have led the organisers to make the wisest choice possible – choose the sport the people love more! MotoGP saw attendance levels surpass the 160,000 compared with 84,000 for F1 leaving a heavy financial loss as they require 100,000 attendees to break even.
Recently Silverstone has announced they will be unable to continue to host the event under the current contract due to costs leaving the British GP hanging in the balance as of 2020. Singapore has also considered the cancellation of F1 with numbers dwindling to a mere 73,000. However, they are pushing on for now.
High costs have seen the end of racing in India and South Korea while costs have prevented South Africa re-entering the calendar despite an upgraded facility.
Let’s be honest money talks and a lot of the fanfare that has nothing to do with racing is now embedded in F1 racing inflating costs (that does not exist with the MotoGP and that’s the way fans like it mind you) to the point it becomes just too expensive for many cities to uphold the contractual obligations of the race.
It’s pretty clear that MotoGP costs less to host and pulls more fans making it not just more exciting for fans but a far better financial option for organisers.
It is also the better option for fans with less expensive ticket prices.
#4 nothing but racing
With MotoGP there is nothing but racing to draw the crowds so when we see statistics as pointed out above the increase in numbers to MotoGP events speaks volumes.
For example, the only F1 race I’ve attended voluntarily was to see Bon Jovi perform along with tens of thousands of others and the F1s were held in my hometown 20 minutes from where I lived.
You see even die hard F1 fans can admit F1 fanfare draws non-fan crowds in huge numbers. This was the case in Austin Texas 2016 where the biggest drawcard for fans was Taylor Swift performing.
Seems a bit like cheating and is just another indicator that MotoGP has an excitement factor that no other sport offers, meaning there is no need for additional attractions or distraction to make people come to spend their time and money.
#5 it’s all up to the rider
Due to overbearing rules, safety concerns and the electronic take over of almost every part of F1 car, I often wonder what is left for the driver to do. For example, if you are not an F1 fan did you know that electronics take over the throttle at 180 km/h?
So, while you can argue quite successfully that an F1 car will pull faster lap times giving the illusion it’s the superior vehicle it is simply not the case.
Why you ask because in MotoGP there is very little interference when compared with an F1 vehicle and at no point does the MotoGP pilot lose control of such things as throttle?
If you have ever ridden a motorcycle (even just a dirt bike in a paddock) you will understand how it’s a fine art to master that throttle while leaning over, add knowing when to brake and hit the throttle again without high siding.
These guys are doing it at speeds in excess of over 260 kmph and it’s literally in their hands – no throttle control from a computer here folks!
#6 MotoGP goes hard and fast without interruptions
No pit stops, tyre changes etc and shorter races leaves no room for error – you must balance it all with one set of tyres – not easy.
Not only is the rider in control of their bike in a way F1 drivers are not, there is also no team radio and a MotoGP rider gets a split-second glance at a pit board as they zoom by at maximum speed down the pit straight.
In 2018 certain messages have been introduced on the dash of the bikes such as Red Flag or Black Flag and match with warning light systems around the track.
However, even if they are given a direction by their team, they can choose to ignore it as was seen by Rossi in Sachsenring in 2016. Note: they cannot ignore an instruction from race direction in the same way it will result in a penalty for the rider.
Basically, MotoGP just gets on with the job at hand – no team interference or pit stops; no distractions they just go as hard and as fast as they can.
This is what the fans want and love and MotoGP give it to them every time.
#7 MotoGP: technically faster off the line and a higher top speed
Yes again it is well documented that the F1 can perform an entire lap faster than the MotoGP bikes – let’s remember though it has a lot to do with the set up of the car that is not in the hands of the driver and the advantage that comes with the extra two wheels when cornering.
But when you consider MotoGP riders have little assistance electronically to control that throttle, their body is literally against the track when cornering and with the power to weight ratio their vehicle is a rocket!
MotoGP is really the tougher of the two to master therefore deserving of the title: Premier Class racing!
#8 More variation in grid line ups, podium positions and championship contention
MotoGP recently did away with the open class and since then it has created some real excitement in terms of podiums and championship contention.
Even though Marquez has consistently ended up as champion for several years running race to race has been providing some real shake ups in those on the podium.
In 2017 we saw 10 different riders share podiums over the season with 5 different winners over the season.
The change to the rules in favour of a more even field for the teams, unlike in F1 where the rule changes seem to favour only the elite teams, has seen not only interesting podiums but interesting grid line ups.
Overall the decision by MotoGP managers to make rule changes that benefit the whole field not the wealthy teams was a very wise decision and is paying off with some of the most exciting racing yet.
#9 MotoGP: don’t blink you’ll miss the excitement
Unlike F1 the last few years in MotoGP have seen an increase in diversity of front running riders.
For example, in 2018 while F1 fans were complaining loudly that there is less and less overtaking happening in each race MotoGP fans were treated to events like Assen in which there were over 100 overtakes all up by 8 different riders and 5 changes to the race leader.
It’s not a fluke either. Another example is the 2015 Australian GP in which just 4 riders were involved in more than 52 overtakes.
And we all know that the more overtaking that happens the more chance for crashes on the track and clashes off the track as seen between Marquez and Rossi after the disastrous 2015 Malaysian GP – in case you are unaware Rossi and Marquez still haven’t made up and fans are still viciously divided by it – check it out you wont be disappointed even three years on!
Seriously these days you could watch an entire F1 race, all 50 or 60 laps and see nothing but switch over to MotoGP and you won’t want to miss a second!
#10 Oh the crashes – and the risks
Due to the lack of car to protect the riders even a minor clash with a fellow rider or miscalculation of speed or brakes can lead to spectacular low and high sides.
Of course, we don’t want to see anyone actually hurt but with all the spills that take place over the entire season there are plenty of broken bones and such but fans everywhere still get a thrill from the crashes.
It is certainly a heart stopper when you think of what these young men face every race for a chance at that podium with statistics for 2017 showing a huge 1126 crashes over the season; meaning there is an average of 62 spills each weekend!!.
And let’s spare a thought for their partners, wives and children who watch on from the sidelines torn between cheering and covering their eyes till the end!
#11 Grid Girls
One interesting aspect of people power recently saw the banning of Grid Girls at F1 races and numerous other global sporting events.
This meant that one day these gorgeous girls had a career they loved and the next they did not.No longer do gorgeous women grace the F1 grid. However, MotoGP allowed no such public pressure to ban Paddock and Grid Girls.
Considering in many cases (too many to list here) the rider’s girlfriend or even wife is their Grid Girl it would’ve been rather awkward.
Now while I’m all for change in a positive direction banning grid girls was a poor choice on F1’s part – the women on the grid are there because they wanted to be.
Let’s hope people power sees them back real soon and maybe even the scores a little between these two sports again.
And one last point why MotoGP is better and always will be – men in leather riding fast motorcycles: need I say more!
What do you think? Do you agree?
(Editor’s note: we now have a “rebuttal article” arguing why F1 is better than MotoGP)