MotoGP: 800s faster than 990s

The 800s were introduced to improve safety in MotoGP, but the 800s are now faster in a straight line than their elder 990 brothers

WHEN THE 800s were introduced, one of the reasons was to improve rider safety by limiting power and therefore top speed.

But straight from the off, the 800s held higher corner speed and it was argued that this is where most crashes happen.

And now, just two years after the 800s were introduced, they're now capable of going faster than the 990s they superceeded.

In 2004, Max Biaggi clocked 207mph along the main straight at Losail on a 990cc Camel Honda and now, in 2009, Dani Pedrosa clocked 210mph on the exact same straight on his 800cc Repsol Honda.

Pedrosa wasn't the only one to top Biaggi's previous record, Casey Stoner and Jorge Lorenzo both clocked 209mph.

Here's a list of the top speeds at Qatar since 2004. It's interesting to see the honours have been spared by Ducati and Honda, but no sign of Suzuki, Yamaha or Kawasaki.

MotoGP top speeds at Qatar

2004: Max Biaggi Camel Honda 207.7mph (990cc)

2005: Carlos Checa Marlboro Ducati 203.8mph (990cc)

2006: Dani Pedrosa Repsol Honda 205.2mph (990cc)

2007: Casey Stoner Marlboro Ducati 201.8mph (800cc)

2008: Marco Melandri Marlboro Ducati 207.8mph (800cc)

2009: Dani Pedrosa Repsol Honda 210mph (800cc)