MotoGP™ vs F1: the perception of speed with Mark Webber

Former F1 star Mark Webber is this week’s guest as the Aussie delves into his love for motorcycle racing and much more

The MotoGP™ Podcast team have a proper treat for in store for you this week as former F1 star and Australian legend Mark Webber links up with hosts Matt Dunn and Fran Wyld. Despite being known for his heroics on four wheels, Webber has always had MotoGP™ - and motorcycle racing in general – at heart.

Two wheels vs four wheels – it’s always a Friday night down the pub topic between motorsport fans isn’t it? Both F1 and MotoGP™ are frighteningly fast and Webber compares the speed sensations of both. “Because I was reasonably highly-trained to drive an F1 car, that was my skill set, I was more relaxed and felt I knew what I was doing and could trust my own decision process to a degree,” comments Webber, talking about driving an F1 and riding a motorcycle.

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“Doing 350km/h at Monza in an F1 car, clearly it’s quick. It’s quite funny, I spoke to Jorge Lorenzo about this in terms of the sensation of speed because those guys, and Valentino, there have been a few who have done the crossover in MotoGP – even Mick Doohan did it, from the 500cc to the Williams back in the day.

“I think that the position is quite unique in a Grand Prix car, lying down like you’re in a bathtub with your feet quite high, sort of sitting back with the steering wheel in front, and you can’t really see a huge amount. Even the helmet eye-port is very different to a motorcycle helmet. A motorcycle helmet is much wider and the aperture is huge, so the peripheral vision is much greater on a motorbike. And you’re hanging off the bike and you’re a lot freer, but you’re much further off the ground, and your eye line is much further off the ground than when you’re in a Formula 1 car. So Jorge was of the opinion, he thought he felt he went faster and that the perception of the same speed was faster in an F1 car. Just in a straight line, not braking, because obviously that’s a completely different topic. But in terms of the speed on the straight.

“I was surprised, because I haven’t done many track days but it was a trap for me. Because on the straights the bike didn’t feel massively quick compared to the F1 car. It was quick don’t get me wrong… but there’s more vibration in an F1 car, you’re strapped in, your arse is on the ground, pretty much skating on the ground… and then you have to brake very early on a motorbike. So it was a trap for me because I’m going in way too deep, you have to go in slower… and then it feels really, really quick at that point. Because a) I haven’t got the talent and b) the perception of speed is slower… right until you start leaning the bike over and all the rest of it.”

That’s just a snippet of one part of the Last On The Brakes podcast, as Webber descends into all sorts:

- Why bikes? Webber’s story
- Deciding why it was cars over bikes
- Favourite thing about riding bikes
- What makes motorsport unique
- Webber’s motorcycle racing heroes
- The new generation of racers (streaming and social media)
- Balancing relationships between drivers, riders and their teams
- How alike are Mark Webber and Andrea Dovizioso?
- Physical stresses of motorsport
- Thoughts on Jack Miller to Ducati
- Kenwood quickfire round

Click on the links at the top of the article to listen on your preferred platform. Alternatively, you can enjoy the MotoGP™ Podcast on YouTube!

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