In Short yes its based on the compression of the fuel but let me explain.

First you must understand the difference between these engines, the diesel works on purely compression of fuel , heating and generating bang to produce power, the gasoline on the other hand is natively twitchy and needs a spark to explode and produce power on its own.

That said,

Think of the petrol engine as a cheetah,it has lightweight bones and has a streamlined body thus is very fast but is not powerful enough to kill a lion or a rhino. 

The Diesel engine is like an elephant, its slow and has a ton of power , but needs heavier legs to support the huge body mass thus it cant run as fast as the cheetah but has a lot of power.By power I mean torque.

The petrol engine natively combusts so it does not need heavy duty parts to withstand the explosion , yes you are compressing the fuel but its not nearly as much as the diesel, that is why 100cc motorcycles rev like crazy they have lightweight construction(cranks, pistons).

The diesel does not combust as much as petrol , it needs to be compressed to a much higher extent to combust thus the cylinder head , the piston, the crank everything needs to be heavy duty to withstand the compression explosion thus slowing down the speed of the piston.