The 2021 World Superbike title fight between Toprak Razgatlioglu and Jonathan Rea was arguably the best championship battle we’ve ever seen in the series’ 34-year existence, but it was also much more than that.
In a year where Formula 1 also had one of its most enthralling and controversial seasons, it’s not a stretch to say MotoGP failed to produce the same level of drama and excitement as World Superbike and F1 - both championship battles went down to the final round.
In regards to 2022, MotoGP has gone up another level in terms of competitiveness and yes, racing has been very, very strong.
But still, is there an argument to be made that World Superbike is more exciting?
Advantages MotoGP holds over World Superbike…
In terms of making a decision around which championship is the better spectacle, it’s important to stress that everyone will have different ideas of what makes great racing.
Of course, MotoGP is a championship that highlights the very best regarding prototype machinery, innovation, advanced aerodynamics and overall bike development, while also consisting of a grid where more than half the riders have won a MotoGP race - not to mention all six current manufacturers have won a race since 2020.
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Although names such as Valentino Rossi, Jorge Lorenzo and Casey Stoner are no longer MotoGP riders, add to that Marc Marquez and his continued injury problems which have resulted in the Spaniard failing to regain the form that made him the best motorcycle racer in the world, it’s obvious that World Superbike can’t compete with MotoGP in terms of star power and attracting the very best, that’s what MotoGP does so well.
MotoGP is also more competitive in terms of how many riders and bikes can win on any given Sunday, however, races such as Portimao, Jerez and Catalunya - all dominated by one rider - also tend to happen which can lead to one-sided results.
Where can World Superbike compete with MotoGP?
While World Superbike was heavily dominated by just two riders in 2021, now three this season, the type of on-track action we see between its three title contenders very rarely allows for one-sided outcomes.
As stated above, the 2021 campaign was one of the best title fights any world championship has seen in recent years, however, 2022 is proving to be even better.
With World Superbike producing three races per weekend, fans have been treated to race long battles, including victories being decided on the final lap on several occasions.
Razgatlioglu (Yamaha), Rea (Kawasaki) and Alvaro Bautista (Ducati) all have very contrasting styles and machinery that achieves its performance in different ways, but that’s not stopped the three riders from putting on classic race after classic race.
In fact, it’s not just fans who are glued to their screens everytime WorldSBK is live: "I was sitting on the sofa in my house watching the [Estoril] race, and straight away I stood up!" Marc Marquez was quoted by WorldSBK.com.
"When I saw the save [from Razgatlioglu], it was a great show, it was a really difficult save. It’s a really slow corner [turn 10], uphill and also there were some wet patches. The way Toprak rides is riding in a different way.
"It’s something interesting. It’s a really nice show of what Jonathan, Alvaro and Toprak are doing in WorldSBK. I respect them a lot. I’m watching every race because they’re so interesting."
Gone are the days where World Superbike is solely able to attract MotoGP riders who are towards the end of their career. Take Bautista, Scott Redding - spent a year in BSB before joining WSBK - and more recently riders such as Iker Lecuona and Xavi Vierge (previously Moto2).
In conclusion, MotoGP has a deeper field when it comes to top-end talent than World Superbike, but racing in the latter continues to be as exciting if not more better than MotoGP.