Dani 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.