Michael Dunlop

MotoGP versus Isle of Man TT.

love him or hate him, Marques is one of the most adaptable riders out there...

By Donovan Fourie

This topic comes up a lot on social media – who is better? MotoGP riders or the Isle of Man TT nutters? The opinions of the typing savants vary so you might not like what is said here. Or you will. Let’s find out.

MotoGP is widely considered the pinnacle of motorcycle racing (sorry dirt fans), with most riders starting riding as young as three, racing by five and professional by the time they turn 15. 

They have continuous rider coaching, training regimes and preparation to ride the greatest two-wheeled machines money can buy. They are full-time racers focussing every bit of their energy on their riding and winning races.

mto gp
Moto GP riders are full time professional racers...

The world’s most famous Isle of Man TT racer has a day job fixing trucks.

That’s an over-exaggeration, but the discrepancies between the two regarding pure riding talent are quite obvious.

The top TT racers do occasionally compete in British Superbike races (or a supporting class) and do okay. Peter Hickman is the top man in this regard. He won four races in this year’s TT and clocked the fastest-ever average speed for a lap at 136.358mph – or, if you live in the 21st century, a touch under 220km/h. That is nothing short of bonkers.

In the real world, Hickman also races in the British Superbike Championship and is rather good there too, winning one heat race and finishing last year’s season in ninth place. 

That is impressive. Although…

Peter Hickman, great, big, brass bells...

Should last year’s championship winner, Bradley Ray, hop across to World Superbikes, he probably would do okay. Maybe ninth. And should the winner of World Superbikes move to MotoGP, he would also most likely finish ninth if he’s lucky. Very Lucky.

Needless to say, the top TT would be a backmarker in the MotoGP class and maybe not even qualify. 

With that, we can undoubtedly conclude that when it comes to pushing motorcycles to their utmost limit, MotoGP riders take that crown. It’s also a personal belief that should a MotoGP rider – let’s take Marc Marquez because he’s a bit of a nutter and a massively adaptable rider – get a decent bike and enough time to learn the circuit, he would win the TT. By miles.

That’s the logical answer. But let’s remove pure logic for a moment and take a more philosophical stance. 

Is that conclusion at all applicable if a MotoGP rider wouldn’t dare stick his neck out with the risk of becoming a wall ornament at the TT? 

So far, the TT has seen 267 fatalities. Needless to say, you need some screws loose to even line up on the TT grid – or a set of brass church bells so big that they clang with every laboured step the rider takes.

Bradley Ray
Bradley Ray
Brad Binder
Brad Binder

We asked at the beginning of this story which riders are better.

The answer depends on your definition of “better”. 

On pure racing skill, MotoGP. 

On balls large enough to affect gravity? Isle of Man TT. 

By miles.

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