What’s faster: a MotoGP bike or an F1 car?

Red Bull gathered together a series of vehicles - including a KTM RC16 MotoGP bike - from its various racing teams for three drag races

What’s faster: a MotoGP bike or an F1 car?

When it comes to hot laps on a racing circuit, a Formula 1 car is always going to be faster than a MotoGP bike. 

It’s a question of tyre contact patches - four wide tyres with large surface areas smushing against the asphalt are always going to provide more grip and traction than two thin little strips. But what about in a straight line - who’d win that race? 

As Red Bull is involved in a dizzying array of motorsports, it’s very well-placed to find out, while also throwing some other machines into the mix. The headline vehicles are a Red Bull RB8 F1 car and a KTM RC16 MotoGP bike, the former being from 2012, the penultimate year of the V8 era. 


The 850bhp it produces from that screaming 2.4-litre engine eclipses the 270bhp offered by the KTM’s 1,000cc V4. But, of course, the KTM has weight on its side, and the fact that its recency brings with it the ability to transform it into a drag racer, thanks to the front and rear ‘holeshot devices’ that lower the centre of gravity. The RC16 tips the scales at just 157kg, making the RB8 look like a right fatty at a still extremely light 700kg.

The pair goes up against a 600bhp Peugeot 208 WRX car and a Ford Puma WRC packing 550bhp, just to keep things interesting. In the last race, the 2,000bhp Ford Transit Supervan 4 joins the fun. It’s by far the most powerful, but also comfortably the heaviest, so its effectiveness is tough to call. 

Riding the motorbike is none other than Dani Pedrosa, the long-time Honda rider and winner of 54 motorcycle Grands Prix (including 31 in the premier class) who’s currently contracted as a test rider for KTM. 

We won’t spoil the results, so why not hazard a guess as to how the three races play out, and then watch to see how wrong or right you were?