MotoGP vs Moto2: What’s The Difference?

MotoGP vs Moto2: both are premier class Grand Prix road racing events sanctioned by the FIM (International Motorcycle Federation). MotoGP is considered the pinnacle of motorcycle racing while Moto2 is rated a step below MotoGP. Both races might look the same to a spectator but there are several differences between the bikes and the skills required to ride in them. There is a difference between the customisation of the bikes and the parts used in assembling them.  A vast gap exists between advanced technology used and the money spent on the bikes.

Moto2 is considered a stepping stone to becoming a MotoGP rider. MotoGP teams scout Moto2 for prospective riders for future recruitment. While MotoGP is considered the highest class of motorcycle riding, Moto2 plays an important part in grooming riders for MotoGP racing. As is obvious, MotoGP riders earn far more than Moto2 riders. Moto2 is as important as MotoGP in the motorcycle racing world. This article will take a look at the differences between the two classes of riding.

Why is MotoGP the top Grand Prix class?

MotoGP is rated above all forms of motorcycle racing. No bike racing in any other format can match either the power or the performance of MotoGP bikes. Great skill is needed to handle these powerful and complex bikes. The most advanced technology is used in MotoGP bikes which make them uniquely sophisticated. There is virtually no limit on the money spent on MotoGP bikes. That makes MotoGP bikes and racing unique in the motorcycle racing world.
Most of the MotoGP teams are commercial manufacturers of motorcycles. They try the latest technology in MotoGP bikes hoping to use it later in commercially produced bikes. The FIM and MotoGP give the teams a free hand in trying out modern mechanics and technology in their bikes. This makes MotoGP bikes the most powerful and sophisticated bikes in the motorcycling world. Understandably, great skill is required in riding these powerful beasts. The riders have to be at the peak of their physical and mental strength throughout the racing season.
MotoGP teams are not required to use engines and parts manufactured by any particular manufacturer. They can use parts manufactured by any manufacturer so long if meets the MotoGP regulatory and testing requirements. This makes MotoGP teams inventive. They can try different manufacturers in different seasons and decide what is best for their bikes. There are no restrictions on the materials used in constructing the bike or its parts either. Teams are free to choose metals and composites so long as the materials used comply with regulations.
Most MotoGP bikes use V4 1000+cc engines although there is no restriction on the type of engines to be used. Teams are free to use in-line 4 cylinder engines if they so desire. Teams prefer to use V4 engines because they deliver maximum power for the minimum weight of the engine. This helps in keeping the bikes lighter. The power produced by these engines, 250 BHP, is higher than that produced by engines used in any other class of motorcycle racing.
MotoGP stipulates that a MotoGP bike must weigh a minimum of 157 kg (346 pounds) without the weight of the rider. Teams do their utmost to keep the weight of their bikes to the mare minimum required to use the generated power to the maximum. Most parts of the bike are constructed from titanium, magnesium, carbon and their alloys or composites. These materials are stronger but lighter than materials used in the manufacture of commercial bikes.
MotoGP bikes can exceed a top speed of 350 km/h which exceeds the top speed of Moto2 bikes by 55 km/h. MotoGP riders ride their bikes with unparalleled riding ability and skill. MotoGP teams allot astronomical budgets for the development and manufacture of a bike. The bike is then specifically customised to suit the rider and his riding style. All MotoGP bikes are hand-assembled. Riders try out the latest advanced technology before the start of a season.
MotoGP riders earn far more than riders in other classes of motorcycle racing. The stakes involved in MotoGP are higher. Teams invest more money in their bikes in the hope of promoting their commercial brands. The advanced modern technology used in the bikes may be used in the production of commercial bikes in the future. Teams stand to gain a lot if they finish in a good position in a racing season. They are therefore willing to pay their riders more than in other classes of motorcycle racing.

How is Moto2 different from MotoGP?

Moto2 is rated second in the motorcycle racing hierarchy. It is however no less important than MotoGP. MotoGP though rated higher than Moto3 and National racing championships, all of them form important cogs in the MotoGP wheel. Motorcycle racing riders graduate through National, Moto3 and Moto2 to race in MotoGP. Moto2 is seen as the breeding ground for future MotoGP champions. As such, Moto2 plays an important role in the world of motorcycle racing.
Moto2 tests the riders’ skills of a rider on an even playing field. All the contestants in a Moto2 Grand Prix race on similar bikes with engines supplied by a common constructor. This pushes riders to perform to their highest ability to come out on top of the field. Riding in Moto2 hones the rider’s skills for the greener pastures of MotoGP. Doing well in Moto2 depends more on good engine tuning and the rider’s skills unlike advanced technology and sheer power used in MotoGP.
Since 2019, all Moto2 bikes are mounted with a 3 cylinder 765cc engine. The engines are supplied by the sole supplier, Triumph Motorcycles. Getting the most out of the engines depends on the rider’s skills and talents and the engine tuning capability of the team. Moto2 bikes are known to top speeds of 300 km/h with the Triumph 765cc engines in good weather conditions. The electronic and eclectic systems used in the bike must conform to FIM regulations.
Dunlop is the sole supplier of tyres for all Moto2 races and teams must use the tyres. But teams are given a free hand to play around with the chassis of the bike. Each team can design and construct its own chassis. The team designs its chassis to use the power generated by the engine to the optimum. The weight of a bike in Moto2 should be a minimum of 217kg (478 pounds) including the weight of the rider.
Using engines and tyres built by the same manufacturers, the performance in Moto2 depends solely on the rider’s skills and the team’s ability to get the maximum out of their bike. Even the electricals and electronics are regulated by the FIM. Production-based engines are usually heavier than custom-built engines. This means the teams have to save weight on chassis construction to keep the weight to the minimum required. The heavier the rider, the tougher is the job of the team.   
Despite all these handicaps, Moto2 riders are highly experienced and skilled. These are riders who have worked their way through National Championships and Moto3. Moto2 teams are also very proficient at what they do. There are fewer riders and teams in Moto2 than in MotoGP. Big-name teams like KTM Red Bull field more riders to complete the grid.

What is the difference between MotoGP and Moto2?

Fans watching a Grand Prix race may be hard-pressed to distinguish between a MotoGP and a Moto2 race. There are a lot of similarities between the two classes of racing and yet they are very different in both performance and demands. Here are the main differences between the bikes racing in MotoGP and Moto2:


  • Moto GP teams are free to choose the suppliers of the bike parts and engine suppliers. Moto2 teams are restricted to the use of a production engine supplied by a sole supplier. MotoGP teams use lightweight materials to construct an engine that is very light compared to its power output.
  • MotoGP bikes use a 4 cylinder 1000+ cc engine with a configuration of their choice. Moto2 does not have this choice and are obliged to use a Triumph 3 cylinder 765cc engine. The Moto2 engine produces 140 BHP while a MotoGP engine generates in excess of 250 BHP.

Engine Manufacturers

  • Big names in the motorcycle manufacturing industry participate in MotoGP. Yamaha, Ducatti and Honda are represented in MotoGP by their own teams. These companies also double as racing manufacturers. Moto2 has a common engine manufacturer and a choice of only four racing manufacturers. The only big-time racing manufacturer competing in Moto2 is KLM.

Weight of the bikes

  • MotoGP bikes have to weigh a minimum of 157kg excluding the weight of the rider. Moto2 bikes are limited to a minimum weight of 217 kg including the rider’s weight. Production engines are heavier and Moto2 teams are hard-pressed to keep the weight of the bike to a minimum. Not only are Moto2 bikes relatively heavier than MotoGP bikes. The engine weight to power ratio of Moto2 bikes is much higher than that of MotoGP bikes.

Allocated Budget

  • MotoGP attracts big names in the motorcycle manufacturing industry. These players are interested in advertising their production-line products and are prepared to spend big money. Honda and Yamaha are regular contestants in MotoGP. Research and development are done in their existing facilities. Teams with less deep pockets compete in Moto2 and Moto3, KTM Red Bull does compete in both MotoGP and Moto2 but their allocated budgets are much smaller than the bigger teams.
  • Bigger teams are willing to spend money on the bikes and to pay the team staff well. Riders, engineers, mechanics and other team members earn more but deliver excellent performances. The best available materials, advanced mechanics and technology and electronics are used in bikes to get optimum performance. Moto2 team have much lower allocated budgets and cannot afford the extravagance.

Tires Allowed

  • Moto2 has no limits on the number of tyres used by a rider or team per season. An unlimited supply of tyres is assured as requested. In MotoGP the number of tyers allotted per rider per Grand Prix is limited. Each rider is allotted 12 rear tyres and 10 front tyres per race. There is also a limit of choice between hard, medium and soft compound tyres.

Rider Earnings

  • The difference in rider earnings in MotoGP and Moto2 is so great that it is difficult to put a figure on it. MotoGP riders are employed with a basic salary running into millions. They get a share of the winnings too, which is substantial. Moto2 riders are employed for a small basic salary. The prize money in Moto2 is also small and so is the share of Moto2 riders. This makes the difference between the earnings of riders racing in the two classes very large.

Which racing is more demanding, MotoGP or Moto2?

Both forms of racing are demanding in the sense that both push man and machine to their limits. But with the limitations imposed on Moto2 bikes by the FIM, Moto2 becomes more challenging. MotoGP bikes use custom made engines while Moto2 bikes use production engines. There is also a limitation on the modification of the chassis in Moto2. This makes the heavier Moto2 bikes difficult to control at high speeds. MotoGP bikes are custom built to suit the rider’s riding style.
MotoGP bikes use advanced technology that makes the engines more efficient. They are also assisted by a very powerful engine for the weight of the bike. The bike itself is hand-assembled taking into consideration the rider’s height and weight. MotoGP teams have access to the whole market for parts to suit their man and machine. This makes MotoGP bikes super-efficient and easily manoeuvrable.
A Moto2 team is not granted this privilege. They use the same engine, gearbox, oil and fuel as all competitors. There is even limitations on the choice of the electrics and electronics of the bike. So finally, leading a race in MotoGP rests on team ingenuity and the rider’s skills. Money available to Moto2 teams is a pittance compared to MotoGP teams.  With all the handicaps, racing in Moto2 is definitely more demanding than racing in MotoGP.

MotoGP vs Moto2: What’s The Difference? – Conclusion

This article is a commentary on the differences between MotoGP and Moto 2 racing. It should not be construed as an opinion of the importance or greatness of one over the other. MotoGP is definitely regarded as the summit of motorcycle racing. But Moto2 is also equally important to MotoGP, Grand Prix racing and a whole lot of other classes of racing. It is Moto2 that feeds most of the riders to MotoGP. But there is a wide difference in the bikes used and racing in the two classes of racing.

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