Motorcycle racing is an intense sport with a long history. Racers ride across three-mile-long tracks (more or less) multiple times over different curvatures and bends just to win the trophy. No matter what type of race it is—motocross, superbike, supermoto, or another—certain manufacturers make some of the best bikes in the industry. The best motorcycle racing brands host many riders through some of the toughest courses across the globe.
This Italian company is one of the biggest in the industry. It makes sense given that its parent companies are the German luxury car company Audi and the Italian subsidiary Lamborghini. These motorcycles boast their signature four-stroke, 90-degree V-twin engines, and desmodromic valves. Desmodromic valves close with a separate cam lobe and lifter instead of conventional springs used in other motorcycles. The Ducati Corse is their racing team, and their bikes raced in the MotoGP, Superbike World Championship, and other national championship races. Racing legends Carl Fogarty and Troy Bayliss won the most titles for Ducati, with four and three respectively.
KTM is an Austrian company known for their off-road motorcycles, specifically with motocross and supermoto. They’re one of the largest motorcycle racing company in Europe. Their motocross and cross-country bikes have a 50 to 250 range cc single-cylinder two-stroke engine, or a 250, 350, or 450 four-stroke model. KTM races in the Motocross World Championship, Supercross World Championship, FIM Cross-Country Rallies World Championship, MotoGP, and Superbike World Championships. Some of their best racers include Miguel Oliveira, Mika Kallio, Bradley Smith, and Brad Binder.
The Yamaha Motor Company is a Japanese company specializing in motorcycles, scooters, motorized bicycles, boats, off-road vehicles, and other automotive parts. Yamaha won 39 championships total with some highlighted wins in MotoGP, World Superbike, and the AMA Supercross Championship. They currently feature world champions Valentino Rossi and Maverick Viñales.
Kawasaki is another powerhouse in the sport. In the 1960s, engineers took an idea from a four-stroke engine for small cars to install a powerful 350cc overhead valve engine onto their motorcycles. Their focus on high-performance led to dominating sports bikes. They have a winning history in the MotoGP, AMA Superbike Championships, and Endurance World Championships.
Last on this list is Suzuki, another Japanese company. Suzuki first began making motorcycles in 1952, and in 1955, they focused on a two-stroke engine. They became notable in two-stroke engines when German acer Ernst Degner signed with them and won the 1962 50 cc FIM World Championship. Suzuki also became the first Japanese company to win a motocross world championship in 1970. After 1976, they focused on a four-stroke engine. Suzuki has six MotoGP championships, along with over 90 Isle of Man TT race wins. Some famous riders who raced for Suzuki include Barry Sheene, Kevin Schwantz, Scott Russell, and Kenny Rogers Jr.