What is Motorcycle Racing?

motorcycle racing

Motorcycle racing is a sport where cyclists race on courses. There are several different terrains that racing takes place on such as asphalt, dirt, or grass. The highest and most famous form of racing in the world is “road racing” under MotoGP. The sport is similar to car racing in many ways and holds events across the world.


Motorcycle Racing History

Motorcycle racing began in 1894, just a few years after the creation of the motorcycle in the 1880s. With the motorcycle being invented in Germany, the sport was held exclusively in Europe at first. After WWII the FIM (Federation Internationale de Motocyclisme) was founded and set up the format for road racing that still persists to this day. By the late 1950s the sport began to spread to other parts of the world and by the 1960s the first Japanese motorcyclist won a race. At first the name of professional road racing league was World GP but since the early 2000s it has been known as MotoGP. 

Playing Surface

Motorcycle Racing Playing Surface

Motorcycle racing can be held on multiple types of surfaces. The most common form is on asphalt tracks which are used for “road racing.” While today many of these tracks are specifically designed for the sport, traditional road racing was held on temporarily closed off public roads. Another common surface for motorcycle racing is on dirt, sand, grass, or mud. These surfaces are reserved for Motocross and unlike road racing there are often jumps incorporated into this style. However, in Supermoto there can be a mix of both off-road courses and traditional asphalt courses. 


Motorcycle Racing Equipment List

Most of the equipment necessary for motorcycle racing is meant for safety. On the bike itself, the parts are made for speed. Here are a few pieces of equipment that any motorcycle racer will need:

  • Motorcycle
  • Helmet
  • Front and rear bike stand
  • One piece leather suit
  • Boots
  • Gloves
  • Back Protector


Motorcycle Racing Gameplay

A MotoGP race is usually around 45 minutes long and has a track between 3 and 4 miles. For reference, Sepang International Circuit in Malaysia is about 3.5 miles with 20 laps. The sport has racers who all begin at a starting line. Within the race there are numerous curves that racers must turn before speeding down straightaways. Riders often stop at pit stops where pit crews repair their vehicles. The sport can be extremely dangerous with riders moving well over 150mph at times.

Position Roles and Responsibilities

Motorcycle Racing Position Roles and Responsibilities

Due to motorcycle racing being an individual sport there are not any positions and different responsibilities in terms of actual racing. Only in sidecar racing are there two people in the vehicle. The rider drives the motorcycle while the passenger will shift their body weight to make the motorcycle perform at its highest ability.

However, in every race there is a pit crew which will help the rider within the race as the car needs maintenance. The pit crew replaces the motorcycle’s tires and gasoline supply at each pit stop. Members of the pit crew are sometimes referred to as “musicians.”

Rules and Regulations

Motorcycle Racing Rules and Regulations

Yellow Flag: Held up to indicate to the racers that there has been an incident on or off of the track. Riders should either maintain speed or slow down. They also can not pass each other.

Red Flag: Race cannot be continued due to safety issues. Riders must return to the pit lane.

Ride Through Procedure: Penalty given to riders if they break a rule such as starting the race early.

Referees and Officials

Motorcycle Racing Referees and Officials

Motorcycling referees main job is to maintain safety during a race due to the danger involved in the sport. This includes notifying racers when there are crashes or safety hazards on the course via flags. Along with that there are various penalties and infractions such as starting a race early. When penalties are assessed, riders are either warned or given points/time deductions.

Lingo and Terminology

Motorcycle Racing Lingo and Terminology

Like every sport, motorcycle racing has a long list of lingo. Below are some common terms:

MusicianPit stop member
AMAAmerican Motorcycle Racing Association
AirfenceAirbags on the side of racetracks used to help riders walk away safely from crashes
Get-offMinor crash
Fairing Screen at the front of a motorcycle
ApexPoint closest to the curb when a racer turns a corner
RiderOne riding a motorcycle

Skills and Techniques

Motorcycle Racing Skills and Techniques

There are a few fundamentals to racing. A few of them are cornering, body control, throttle control, braking, and finding reference points (looking ahead). When all of these are done properly riders are able to go the fastest, take the best routes, and be safe on their bikes. It also is a skill to be fit so it is easier to use body weight in order to shift the bike in the best possible ways. A key to the sport is turning corners and getting as low as possible to the ground when doing so.

Motorcycle Racing Coaches

Motorcycle Racing Coaches

Racing coaches are not hands on during the race but do help riders practice and develop their skill set.

Ken HillRickdiculous Racing
Jake KemkeYamaha

Motorcycle Racing Coaching

Motorcycle Racing Coaching

According to motorcycle coach Ken Hill, the three components to being a good rider are physical fitness, craft and technique, and mental fitness. Those are the three areas that all coaches should attempt to help riders improve upon. In terms of technique, one way that coaches help riders is to teach them better ways to use their bodies on the bike. By shifting their weight properly, riders can execute better turns and move quicker on their motorcycles. Mentally, coaches help riders to prepare for certain situations on the track. Also, in motorcycle racing coaches form close relationships as they work together one on one mostly.

Motorcycle Racing Strategy

Motorcycle Racing Strategy

Motorcycle racing strategy is predicated on getting the bike to move as fast as possible and taking the quickest route around the track. One way to do this is to “hug the curve” meaning to turn as close to the inside of the track as possible on curves. Another strategy is to go as fast as possible on straightaways, the longest straight portions of the course.

Motorcycle Racing Drills

Motorcycle Racing Drills

There are many different drills to increase technique. Firstly, due to a rider’s reliance on balance, many riders need to get into physical shape to be able to control the bike well. Another key drill is balance drills which allow riders to use their weight on the bike better. There are also braking drills to be able to control speeds of the bike. One essential set of drills are cornering drills which help riders to turn the numerous corners on courses. Holeshot drills teach riders how to launch off of the starting line quickly.

Motorcycle Racing Players

Motorcycle Racing Players

This list is of the best racers. Their teams are all the companies that make their motorcycles.

Giacomo AugstiniMoto Morini
Valentino RossiYamaha
Jorge LorenzoYamaha
Wayne RaineyYamaha
Casey StonerHonda, Ducati
Michael DoohanHonda

Motorcycle Racing Leagues

Motorcycle Racing Leagues

Motorcycle racing does not have specific leagues necessarily speaking. Instead, there are sanctioning bodies who all fall under the highest sanctioning body, the FIM (Federation Internationale de Motocyclisme). There are some leagues that are not directly affiliated with the FIM, namely leagues run by companies like Red Bull.

MotoGP World ChampionshipInternationalPro
Supersport World ChampionshipInternational (mainly Europe)Pro
British Superbike ChampionshipUKPro
AMA Superbike ChampionshipAmericaPro
All Japan Road Race ChampionshipJapanPro

Motorcycle Racing Teams

Motorcycle Racing Teams

Every team in motorcycle racing is named after the company who constructs their bikes. This is due to the emphasis on how bikes are built affecting the race.

Yamaha Motor RacingPro
Red Bull KTM Factory RacingPro
Suzuki MotoGPPro
Honda Racing CorporationPro
Ducati CorsePro

Motorcycle Racing Brands

Motorcycle Racing Brands

In terms of manufacturing, the leading motorcycle brands are Yamaha, Honda, and Ducati. Other brands are MotoGP and Red Bull.

https://powersports.honda.com/racingHonda MotoGP Team Website
https://www.ducati.com/ww/en/racing/motogp/homeDucati MotoGP Team Website
https://www.redbull.com/us-en/tags/motocrossRed Bull Motocross Team Website

Motorcycle Racing Tournaments

Motorcycle Racing Tournaments

There are motorcycle racing tournaments all across the world. Many of the biggest tournaments are held in Europe however, where the sport originated. Two of most famous tournaments are the Isle of Man TT and the Daytona 200.

Daytona 200Pro
MotoGP ChampionshipPro
Motocross World ChampionshipPro
Isle of Man TTPro

Motorcycle Racing Books

Motorcycle Racing Books
MotoGP: The Illustrated HistoryMichael Scott
Speed- The One Genuinely Modern PleasureMatt Oxley
MotoGP TechnologyNeil Spalding
Speed at the TT RacesDavid Wright


What is Motorcycle Racing?

Motorcycle racing is a sport which has competitors race special types of motorcycles. The sport takes place in different environments (off-road and road racing) all across the world. It started at the turn of the 20th century and has grown since then. The biggest highest forms of the sport are seen in MotoGP road racing and Motocross off-road racing.

What are the different types of motorcycle racing?

The main types of racing are off-road and road racing. The most famous off-road motorcycling racing league is Motocross but there are numerous variations. Off-road racing primarily takes place on dirt but can be held on sand, grass, or mud also. Motocross is known for its course’s big jumps and unique courses. Road racing is seen in MotoGP and throughout other leagues in the world. It is generally held on closed circuit courses but was traditionally held on closed off public roads.

How much is a racing motorcycle?

Racing motorcycles are hand built, have expensive parts, and use high-end technology. Tires and the bike itself are specially made for racing and creating a lightweight bike. They use different materials than regular motorcycles and races put extreme pressure on the bike. Beside the research and development that goes into the crafting of bikes, bikes can cost around $2 million.

What is the fastest motorcycle race?

The fastest and most dangerous motorcycle race in the world is the Isle of Man TT. The race is held on the Isle of Man, a country in between Ireland and Britain. Since the first race in 1907, it has claimed the lives of 146 riders. Racers regularly reach over 200 miles per hour in the race which helps to make it so dangerous.

Who is the best motorcycle racer?

The greatest motorcycle racer of all time is widely considered to be Giacomo Agostini. He is an Italian racer who tallied a record 122 Grand Prix wins as well as 15 World Championship titles. He raced from 1964 to 1977 and his dominance is comparable to the athletes like Michael Jordan or Babe Ruth. More recently some of the best racers have been Valentino Rossi, Casey Stoner, and Jorge Lorenzo.