800cc MotoGP bikes now faster than 990s

Dailies -


Pedrosa_RC212V_Qatar.jpgDani Pedrosa hit 210.4mph aboard his RC212V during qualifying for last week’s Grand Prix of Qatar, besting the previous top speed record of 207.8mph set by Max Biaggi at the same track in 2004 aboard the 990cc RC211V. 800cc GP bikes are now officially faster than the 990s they replaced.
And it wasn’t just Pedrosa who broke the previous record. Mika Kallio
hit 210.0mph on a Pramac Ducati, Casey Stoner’s Ducati GP9 reached
209.5mph and 2009 Yamaha M1-mounted Jorge Lorenzo did 209.4mph.
Valentino Rossi only managed 207.7mph.

800s bested 990 lap records from their first pre-season tests in 2007, but this is the first time an 800 has exceeded the top speed of the old, larger capacity bikes.

One of the reasons Dorna cited for reducing engine size back in 2007
was to reduce top speeds and make racing safer and more competitive. It
looks like it succeeded, but only for two years.

Crash.net via Faster and Faster

  • aoelus

    How were the bikes safer with higher corner speeds
    which had the potential to result in greater injuries? We see Pedrosa suffering serious and disabling injuries as a result. But of course such bikes benefited the graduates from Dorna’s feeder classes. Now with the move to 600cc fours in the 250 class, larger riders will not be penalized and perhaps the 990s will return to benefit the sport.

    • http://hellforleathermagazine.com Wes Siler

      I think it’s pretty unlikely that we’ll see a return to 990s. Differentiation between Moto2 and MotoGP will, in addition to the capacity, be attained by the technology; Moto2 bikes will be very limited.

      • http://twitter.com/marshallhaas Marshall


        You need to highlight details on the Moto2 bikes that they just tested in a practice session. That’s def a 09 r6 front end and a M1 tail

        Check it out

        • http://hellforleathermagazine.com Wes Siler

          Thanks Marshall, It’s hard to know what to cover with Moto2 right now, it’s in such a state of development and flux.

  • Cynic

    I just want close racing. Which we haven’t had in a few years.
    Of course the rules have had major changes and will continue to have major changes for the next couple of years.
    I wonder if the rules for having to use an engine for multiple races will slow things down for a bit?

    • http://hellforleathermagazine.com Wes Siler

      I just want every race to be like Laguna last year, I haven’t been the close to the edge of my seat in years.

      • Cynic

        I wish I could have seen the cork screw from where I was sitting. That was an awesome race. I hope we have a few like it this year. Though as a Ducati fan a better outcome :-P

  • monkeyfumi

    According to a recent interview with Paul Denning (Suzuki) that I read, the 800s make more torque than the 990s now too.
    The 990 bikes will never (unfortunately) return, though even if they never left, racing would not be the same as 5 years ago.
    Electronics would have been developed just as fast with the 990s, refining traction control, engine braking, fuel consumption and the myriad of other things now controlled by microprocessors on racing motorcycles.
    Corner speeds would also have risen with the constant improvement in tyres.
    With three more years of development, would we now be seeing 260 – 270 bhp out of 990 bikes?

  • aoelus

    I agree that the return of 990cc bikes was really wishful thinking, a governing body will never admit a mistake, but I can’t see tire improvement with single supplier and restricted allocation. Hayden had to start the race on a used front as he was fresh out. With perhaps a one bike rule next year and possible extended service requirements on engines, performance gains will be reduced and riders will have to bear in mind they have only one bike. Cost and performance control should be done in a way that allows the rider to perform at his best without worrying about making the engine last multiple races or running out of tires. If this means cost control at the engine/chassis point, restricting development, so be it.

  • Steve516

    someone actually feels bad for pedrosa? really?

  • tzed

    fwtw Sinichi Itoh first broke the 200 mph barrier in GP waaaaaaaay back in 1993 (on a fuel-injected Honda NSR500 at Hockenheim) so top speeds have not actually risen so very fast….

  • Mike

    (Going Somewhat Off Topic)

    This is why the upcoming 7th-generation Honda Interceptor (VFR) should retain an 800cc engine instead of growing bigger!!! Honda’s V-4 is ready for a refresh and a diet, but the absurd engine selection speculation is getting out of control. I contend that Honda can put more sport back in the VFR without a drastic change to engine architecture. Neither greater displacement nor additional cylinders are needed to breath new life into Honda’s stalwart middleweight sport tourer.

    (Back Closer To Topic)

    If MotoGP really wanted to limit speeds, it would mandate skinny tyres. Tyre technology is arguably more important than the engine — the rubber limits not only how much power can be put down, but also how much momentum can be carried through the corners and braking ability. Lower adhesion significantly lowers speeds. Nothing separates the men from the boys more quickly than putting a hotshot kid on skinny rubber and asking him to keep up with the old farts who grew up riding pathetic skinny old hard tyres.