Two rounds into the WorldSBK season and it already feels that the back is broken on the season. After the shortest winter in memory, some team personnel said that they had just a few days off over Christmas, it’s been a hectic time for the paddock. This week will be a rare chance to catch their breath but with tests in Aragon, Montmelo and Assen on the schedule for teams it’s clear that there’s still plenty of work to be done!
After a hard winter, Indonesia should have been a reward for much of the paddock. With the track sitting on the stunning coastline of Lombok it’s a perfect holiday destination. Good weather, nice hotels, white sand and local cuisine makes for a perfect destination. Unfortunately, that postcard image didn’t quite work out for most teams. Food poisoning seemed to affect half the paddock and the weekend became a test of endurance on and off track.
It’s been a long, hard winter and this was the culmination of that for many...
Toprak wins again
Yamaha know the challenge they are facing in 2023; a horde of fast Ducati’s that can be competitive everywhere. For Toprak Razgatlioglu that means he has to be perfect week in and week out. Australia was far from that objective for the Turkish star, and with Alvaro Bautista having claimed five wins from six races it was critical that Toprak would win at least one race in Indonesia.
The Bautista crash in the Superpole Race opened the door for Toprak to claw back two points on Bautista over the course of the weekend but he had to work incredibly hard to do even that. The 2023 season will be a slog.
“All the Ducatis are fast,” said Toprak. “Bautista is a very strong rider but also now it is a good package with Bautista and Rinaldi too. I tried 100% every lap. This weekend we tried to find a good setup but it wasn’t until Race 2 that the front tyre was good and not destroyed. In the races I’m strong, but not strong enough. After the red flag we didn’t have a new SC0 tyre so I just tried my best. After a few laps it was just spinning. Finishing second in Race 2 was good for the championship.”
Australia was a tough weekend for Toprak and Indonesia had promised more. He was expecting to convert his pole position into race wins, but as it was he left Lombok feeling the weight of pressure from Ducati and Bautista. The Spaniard and the Panigale are a match made in heaven, and now as we move back to Europe Toprak, Yamaha and the rest of the field will be left clutching at straws hoping that cooler temperatures will come to their aid.
Cooler temperatures, better times?
The Ducati works well in hot and cool conditions. It works on fast tracks and stop-start tracks. It’s a complete package, but in Toprak’s favour he’s a complete riding package. The championship is long and there’s a way to go yet, but with Assen next on the calendar Toprak will be keen to get to the front at a track he loves. Last year’s crash with Rea meant we don’t have a full form card of the Yamaha versus the Ducati, but don’t be surprised to see the Yamaha 1-2 in the Superpole session repeated next time out.
“I hope we are focused on the race and we don’t crash with Johnny again! This wasn’t an easy weekend for Johnny and I think it’s a similar problem to mine with the front tyre dropping. The Kawasaki isn’t working well in the hot conditions but Jonny is still very strong. He is always very strong at Assen and we need him to help fight with Ducati.”
Bautista and Ducati keep the ball rolling
Ducati claimed their first Indonesian victory in Race 1 on Saturday and Alvaro Bautista swiftly wrapped up a second in Race 2. Being able use the softer SCX tyre in the feature length races once again showed the advantage that Bautista holds over his rivals; the fastest bike and the softest tyre is a tough combination to beat. On Sunday however Bautista was able to race with the harder tyre and still prove his pace.
The Spaniard said that the softer tyre was faster but the harder tyre offered him more stability. While others had to compromise he could make both work. Sandwiched between his Indonesian victories the Spaniard highsided out of the Superpole Race after a battle with Jonathan Rea. The Spaniard hit the deck after running off the racing line and touching the dirty track surface. It was, almost, a wet weather crash.
“I came into the corner and Jonathan came up the inside,” explained Bautista about his crash. “Both of us wanted to be on the good line but then we went both went wide. If you're off line here it’s very easy to crash. I tried to pick up the bike and to be smooth with the gas but I just touched the gas a little bit and lost the rear. Jonathan was the same. It was dangerous there because I think in a normal track, I wouldn’t crash. If I’m on my own I don’t go off the line but it's normal when someone overtakes you. In this situation we both tried to stay on the line and it was a good overtaking move. It was aggressive but I’m not complaining. I crashed because of the dirty track, not because of Jonathan.”
The crash gave the rest of the grid some cause for optimism in Race 2. Bautista would start from the fourth row of the grid and would have to come through the field. As the initial race got underway Michael Ruben Rinaldi opened a lead of three seconds over his teammate. The Italian looked on course for the win, although Bautista said afterwards that he was still confident of closing down that margin, but a red flag caused the race to be restarted and instantly Bautista was the favourite for a 14 lap dash for the cash.
Afterwards Bautista said that you can never take anything for granted and that his focus is very much on the here and now, despite winning five of the opening six races.
“I have so much confidence with this bike and that’s the important thing because if we can keep this feeling for the next races, we can be competitive and we can fight for victories. Anything can happen until the chequered flag but you try to forget about the championship. We have a test in Barcelona soon and that's what I'm focused on because I'm enjoying riding the bike.”
That Alvaro is enjoying riding the bike seems like the biggest understatement in WorldSBK at the moment...
Locatelli - A changed man
It’s always surprising to see a former Supersport World Champion fly under the radar. That’s exactly what Andrea Locatelli has managed to do over the last six months. From Indonesia last year, the penultimate round, until now Locatelli has been a constant top five runner in WorldSBK. During the winter there were noises that he had closed to the gap to his teammate, Toprak Razgatlioglu, and the opening two rounds have borne that out.
It truly is a thankless task to be teamed up with a rider like Toprak. The Turkish superstar is the benchmark. There is no rider with more talent in WorldSBK and he is also a relentless force of consistency. For the last 12 races however Locatelli has been superb. Four podiums and twelve top five finishes is a solid return for anyone, but for Loka it’s given him the confidence to believe in more.
“I do prefer when we get the podium but it wasn’t easy to get that Race Two,” said Locatelli after finishing fifth on Sunday. “It’s been a good weekend. We made no mistakes. We will test before the next round but I would prefer to keep racing!”
Raising his sights
Locatelli’s performance was impressive but the most important step was being disappointed by his final race of the weekend. Three podiums would have been a fantastic return but being disappointed with two podiums and a fifth says a lot about his progress. He has started to believe in himself to a much greater degree and the next step is knowing that he can fight with his teammate. The front row start, less than a tenth slower than Toprak, was a superb lap, but now he needs to start making those opportunities count. Assen is a gift wrapped opportunity.
“I had my first podium Superbike podium at Assen and it’s a good track for me. I think we have a good package and I have a good feeling. We need to be fast in Assen but I think we need to be faster everywhere this season. We have started the season in a good way. We can continue to build our confidence and try to fight for the podium or for the top five. The top five is a good result.”
Top five finishes and podiums are good results but for Loka and Yamaha the goal is evolving; they are expecting to win soon.
Results elude Rinaldi but the tide is turning
While Alvaro Bautista was receiving the plaudits for another great weekend in Indonesia his Aruba.it Ducati teammate, Michael Ruben Rinaldi, was left licking his wounds. Three crashes over the course of the weekend left the Italian with bumps and bruises, but it was the red-flagged final race of the weekend that left its mark on Rinaldi.
Leading the way by almost three seconds when the flags came out he instantly felt his heart sink. He knew that he had no front tyres and that it would be almost impossible for him to win.
“All weekend with a used front I struggled for grip after a few laps,” said Rinaldi. “I felt OK at the beginning and I pushed and gained over a second. Then I lose the grip on the front. I knew where the limit of the front was because I crashed in the warm-up and I just tried to bring the bike home in the best position. I couldn’t push because I had no front grip. Alvaro overtook me and on the last lap I was trying not to crash. It was really difficult.”
It’s been a difficult start to the season for Rinaldi. In both rounds he has been very strong, at tracks where his past form hasn’t been impressive, but the wet weather of the season opener left him way down the order. Lapping 2.5 seconds per lap slower than Bautista he was nowhere in Race 1 of Australia, before claiming back-to-back podiums the next day. In Indonesia he crashed on his first flying lap of the weekend and wracked up another couple of crashes, including at the first corner of Race 1.
It was a shame for the Italian because the speed was there all weekend, and once again he was left wondering what might have been from the weekend.
Hope for the future
With his copybook blotted three times so far this year, his speed has allowed him to still sit fifth in the standings just four points behind Axel Bassani. It’s a good indication of what’s to come from Rinaldi and at Assen and Montmelo he will expect to challenge for his first win since Catalunya 2021.
“I was strong in Phillip Island. During testing in the winter at Portimao and Jerez I was strong. The speed is there but we need to work a little bit better and I need to not make mistakes. I need to be smarter. I made a stupid mistake in Race 1 but Sunday was another day. I know that I could be fast but I had an engine braking issue during the Superpole Race. I felt really good at the start of Race Two and when the red flag came out I had a lead of over two seconds, I knew I had no new tyre front and I knew the problems that I would face from the restart. The speed is there.”
The speed is there and soon too will be the results. Rinaldi’s start to the season hasn’t been reflective of the progress he’s made with the Ducati.
High points and hospitals for BMW
What can you say about BMW in Indonesia? A stunning top six finish in Race 1 for Michael van der Mark and a second row starting spot for Loris Baz showed a lot of potential for the Bavarian machine. However, on a weekend where they showed a good turn of pace and potential, the weekend still ended with both riders nursing broken bones.
One of the biggest talking point of the weekend was Baz' injury during the Superpole Race. Having had the initial race red flagged after a big crash involving Baz and Alex Lowes, along with Danilo Petrucci, it was ironic that the Kawasaki and BMW riders came into contact in the eight lap Superpole Race and left Baz with a broken ankle.
On the entry to Turn 10, the Frenchman dangled his leg and it was hit in sickening style by Lowes as the Englishman made his way through. It was, quite simply, bad luck and bad timing. Baz was doing what riders do on corner entry and Lowes was already committed to overtaking him when Baz stuck his leg out. It was gruesome but inevitable, because by the point Baz dangles his leg Lowes’ momentum meant that he was unable to change his direction.
“We've all been doing this with our legs for many years,” said Baz after the accident. “I don't blame Alex for the crash but I want to explain what happened. Lombok and Argentina are always very dirty tracks when we get there so we clean the track as we ride, but we are always on the same line. It's one metre wide that is clean and offers grip. Normally when you're trying to overtake someone you leave enough room for safety, but you can't do that in this situation. If you leave room you get on the dirt and end up going straight or falling yourself.”
It was bad luck for Baz and it’s left him with a nasty injury to recover from in time for Assen next month.
Bad luck never comes alone
For BMW it wasn’t the only bad luck either. On Saturday, Van der Mark managed his race perfectly to come strong at the end and march through the field to sixth. It was a stunning ride that once again confirmed his place as the top BMW rider so far this season. But, it was also the high point of the Dutchman’s weekend, which ended in the medical centre after a huge highside in Race 2.
A fracture to his left hand meant that his second home round - he is a quarter Indonesian - ended in disaster, but for Van der Mark there were plenty of positives to take.
“I think that the bike is good now. We are still struggling for traction on corner exit but honestly we're not far away. I can ride with the others and they aren't pulling a big gap on us. We're missing a few tenths of a second, which isn't massive but those are always the toughest tenths to find! It was a shame to have such a big crash on Sunday, but it was also the first time I had any problems all weekend. I ran off line after being pushed wide and I had a big crash. We have some tests before Assen and I’m excited to race again.”
A hard grind
While Van der Mark is excited to race again, the same didn’t appear to be the case for his teammate Scott Redding for much of the Indonesian weekend. The Englishman’s opening race of the weekend was ended by a stone through the radiator, but as he punched the tank and fumed in the pitbox it was clear just how frustrated he is at the moment. Last year, at the opening round in Aragon, it was a similar tale of woe for Redding and he turned around his season with a strong run of form mid-season.
“The bike needs to turn better and have a little more acceleration,” said Redding. “I was following some of the other riders and they had incredible acceleration coming out of corners. Sunday was the first time this year that I’ve felt more feeling with the bike and feeling like I can actually push with the bike. I hope we can continue like this.”
With Redding and Van der Mark both looking for improvement on corner exit this should be an area that BMW focus on in the upcoming tests. The team will be on track at Catalunya at the end of the month, and don’t be surprised if they use their extra testing days, as a result of being a Super Concession manufacturer, to also get on track at Assen.
War of words
After Sunday’s final of the weekend came to a close, Danilo Petrucci was keen to let everyone know his displeasure. Whether taking aim at Alex Lowes, Race Direction or the Superpole Race, the Italian’s frustration was clear to see.
“The Superpole Race is like bumper cars. I don’t understand the behaviour of Alex Lowes and also the Race Direction. If the race wasn't red flagged Baz was on the ground and I was in the the gravel, yet there was no penalty for Lowes. In Phillip Island, he crashed with Toprak. No penalty. I don’t understand it. I was in front and from the images Race Direction said he made a mistake and lost the bike, and hit me in the back. I was in front and it was a rider mistake. It’s okay that it’s the first lap, but he ruined the race of two other riders.”
While Petrucci was stressing his displeasure it should be noted that it would be unusual for Race Direction to confirm a mistake of this magnitude for Lowes and then not issue a penalty. For Lowes it was clear that he wasn’t to blame, with the Kawasaki rider stating in Parc Ferme that “I’ll have to talk to Danilo about this incident.”
Lowes felt pinched into Turn 2 and that Petrucci closed in front of him when there was no chance to react. Looking at the footage - which doesn’t show the full incident - it was clear that Lowes was ahead on the exit of Turn 1 but that Petrucci was exiting the corner with momentum that allowed him to get alongside and slightly ahead into Turn 2. The Ducati rider was though on the outside line, and with a rider inside you have to account for them. Speaking to other riders in the group on Sunday evening confirmed Lowes suggestion that he was pinched from the outside.
For Petrucci it was the second weekend in a row where he felt that the Superpole Race created too much risk for riders. In Australia he said that it was like being in a bar fight and in Indonesia he once again felt it was over the limit,
“The Superpole race is a mess. I don't think it's the safest option to do an eight-lap race on these bikes. In the last corner of the Superpole race, Aegerter overtook me and pushed me to the outside. I'm afraid of the Superpole race, my winglets are shaved off every time.”
Honda and Vierge on the podium
It was a tale of contrasting fortunes for the Honda riders in Indonesia. Iker Lecuona was distraught and out of sorts all weekend long. The Spaniard crashed in FP1, and from that point onwards he lacked confidence. He admitted to being afraid of crashing again, having had flashbacks to a serious crash last year.
His weekend of woes was compounded by losing his fastest time in Superpole due to yellow flags. This relegated him from the fourth row of the grid to the sixth row and left it almost impossible for him to make an impression on proceedings.
“We were a bit unlucky in Superpole because my lap time was cancelled. I don't think our results reflected our real level. It was a very challenging weekend. We had ups and downs in every session and in the end we just couldn't juggle it all.”
His teammate, Xavi Vierge, was comfortably the top Honda man all weekend. Three top seven finishes and a first career podium were his rewards. Being able to make the softest SCX tyre last for the duration of the feature length races played into his hands but the Spaniard needed to be at his best to come away with such strong results. Now he can look forward to Assen, a track where he had two top five finishes in Moto2, to build on this success.
“From my first day on the bike we’ve tried so hard,” smiled Vierge. “It hasn’t been easy and sometimes we have been close but we have always missed some tenths. The team gave me the support to stay calm and made a plan to do as many laps as possible with a stable base. I’ve been able to build my confidence back lap by lap. In Australia I struggled because the tyres were so hard and I couldn’t ride it like I wanted to. The softer tyre gives more grip and it’s better for me.
“Being consistently inside the top six is the objective. In WorldSBK every bike has its strong areas, and this weekend was us getting the most from our strong areas. We have some areas that we are quite fast and we have to try and not lose much in the sectors where we are struggling. We are working hard but everybody is working hard! I hope that step by step we can get closer.”
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Kind of crazy how poorly the…
Kind of crazy how poorly the season has started for both Toprak and Johnny. Of course we all expected Ducati to excel this season but it feels like those two have a hangover from how on the limit they had to ride last year just for a chance. Hopefully at least a few other riders can get it more sorted, a runaway champion is never quite as funny even though I'm a fan of Bautista. Still, SBK continues to provide fantastic racing through the field!
In reply to Kind of crazy how poorly the… by lotsofchops
I dont think it's a hangover…
I dont think it's a hangover for Toprak, if he doesn't have the crash in Australia and scores 10 or 11 pts in that race it would suddenly look a little different. The Ducati is just the best bike on the grid now and even Toprak can't make up for that at some tracks. Assen will be really interesting to see how he fares and in Montmelo it will be a lot cooler than usual so that could bring Bautista back to the pack slightly. It's not going to be easy by any stretch for Toprak (or anyone else) but there's a target to meet and Yamaha are working towards it.
For JR and Kawasaki the season, as a title contender, is already finished in my eyes. Johnny is the best we've ever seen but Kawasaki has gone the wrong direction with the bike and needs an overhaul. The unfortunate reality is that a new bike isn't possible because of the cost and now the ZX10-RR is a little too long in the tooth for even JR to overcome the shortcomings. Johnny, like Toprak now, has been the margin for error in Kawaskaki's development programme. The margin is now just too big for even a six times champ to overcome.
In reply to I dont think it's a hangover… by Steve.English
That missing 500 rpm might help Kawasaki?
In reply to 500 rpm by larryt4114
I dont really think the 500…
I dont really think the 500 revs matters at this stage. Standing trackside at the Jerez test and at Phillip Island (the rest of the time I'm obviously in the commentary box so only see what we see on TV) and it seemed that every time a Kawa rider opened the gas it was like a lightswitch. More power isnt going to help that. Their issue seems to be usability more than power. Could be wrong obviously but looking at the amount of crashes that Jawa riders had in testing it was alarming to see the increase in this since their updates to the engine
In reply to I dont really think the 500… by Steve.English
Rev cuts/additions, Superconcessions
Thank you Steve English, so glad you are here!
Agreed 500rpm's don't rescue the Kawi nor would they draw the Ducati back to Yamaha. But it seems a fit to do so as per the "every 3 Rounds" review eh?
Only rev cut Kawasaki, and not returned? Yes, Ducati is selling a bike for DOUBLE the cost of a Japanese bike with a monster engine and high rpm limit. But are you scratching your head a bit re the rule's application here? Is Paddock chat?
On the flip side Honda has had chassis trouble mis matched to the Spec Pirellis, so gets a few Superconcession changes. I am glad they got them personally, and wish the Aprilia RSV4 for example could have received something similar as it is my favorite Superbike (albeit hamstrung by Black's electronics relatively, that chassis w a V4 crammed in is a thing of beauty) -- so again, rule application thoughts and Paddock discussion? For the good of the Series, what should be happening relative to what is here? HOW they decided to do those two but not something similar elsewhere that would be more consistent?
(Fyi I have been genuinely furious and disgusted by MotoGP's allowing ride height gizmos AND negligent shelving of the bloody 2019 Michelin Front carcass update. Ducati's Magnetti Marelli coup? Ingenious! Loved it! Same with Gigi's organizational miracle, brilliant. But...Dorna needs a hard look in the mirror on how they (didn't) handle those fundamentals. So, looking at WSBK right now with both adoring appreciation AND jaundiced concern. Am I making sense to you? Thoughts an recommendations?).
Steve and Co, LOVING the 5-7 mins of PPPod on WSSport! Thank you!! Are you seeing and appreciating the dramatic bloom there?! Paddock chat as well? Keenly interested there, and it isn't just me.
What bike is Honda brewing? Is the old undertail exhaust CBR600RR really it with ALL that program around it? And our friend on board (I'm Scottish)? Grabbing at tea leaves, wanting more -- that chassis was way too unresponsive and motor a tad mild when I ran it. Id want...Superconcessions? Or better yet, a CBR750RR.
Elephant in room, elsewhere in Supersport Next Gen the Ducati almost Litre bike was just joined if not surpassed by the homologated GSXR750. Mid pack riders are in the front pack 1st go. Cheap, plentiful, easy build/set up, race winner. Steve, where are they is WSSport?! It is tugging at a bell in my mind relentlessly, without a single breadcrumb to be found.
Yes I ride and am openly enamored with the Triumph, but it seems to me that there is something JUST missing in the engine tune up top of their WSSport bikes. Crafty buggers homologating the "Street Triple" btw. Missing Manzi, he's brilliant. Is the Triple motor top end in the rulebook of note? Flexible, or static? MVAg has a 5% capacity "cheat," is Triumph compensated via (compression etc)?
-_-_-_-_ SO, WSBK hitting Assen means perhaps arriving at 2023 reality. Bit of weirdness 1st Rounds (track condition off line last Round, oof!). Toprak, looking at you buddy! Predictions?
In reply to Rev cuts/additions, Superconcessions by Motoshrink
Krop, FYI this is 20% of screen width
Width of comment at right on a phone screen relative to "blank what the heck?!" filling the left? Measuring...
TWENTY % mate
Unreadable garble, enough to strongly discourage comment section use altogether. Hoping for a reply from Steve! (And David the programmer making it readable --- thanks for the reader Superconcession!)
Solution, ditch the indent of sequential comments model after the first one. Only needed to differentiate a comment from a reply, each reply under it has PLENTY of delineation via the bold subject header and visual break of reader name etc.
Hope that helps! Please let me know you saw this, so I don't chase you w reposts please and thanks? I am wanting to be able to comfortably use the comments section.
In reply to Rev cuts/additions, Superconcessions by Motoshrink
WSS Balance of Performance
4. The primary method of balancing will be torque-limited maps updated in increments of +- x%
I'm not sure compensatory modifications are relevant anymore, unless they are chassis modifications. The engines are limited by the sanctioning body, and as long as they do their homework, the bikes should be quite similar. With one hand the sanctioning body could allow an engine upgrade, and with the other hand they will detune the bike, if it exceeds the prescribed torque map. Plus, all of the big bikes--the Ducati, Suzuki, Triumph, and MV Agusta--are being choked with the throttle by wire systems to bring them down to 600cc levels of performance.
I suspect the Suzuki GSX-R750 is not used for a variety of reasons. Suzuki are moving away from racing at the present time. To run the GSX-R750 requires a throttle by wire kit upgrade. The kit is not cheap and it's not owned by Suzuki. The kit is owned by Team Hammer and Bike Sport Designs so you have to go through them to get the kit. Also, the only development done on the track for the GSX-R750 is on Dunlop tires that aren't used in World Supersport competition.
In reply to WSS Balance of Performance by phoenix1
^ Good thoughts. I could see…
^ Good thoughts. I could see the GSXR doing well on Pirellis. The throttle by wire via Team Hammer, noticed that but put it out of mind, thanks for reminder -- could be duplicated elsewhere? Relative to overall costs, it can't be as prohibitive as the 600cc engine builds. Those are spendy!
Back to torque curves, INTERESTING. They based the plan off of the R6 torque curve, which if we have a Duc Twin and Triples to match? Tough! In part because of differences like rpm over rev allowing a top end HP advantage for some etc. The Honda, it MUST have gotten a big engine tune boost just now right?! Don't get me wrong, glad it is here with a solid Team program, but befuddled how it can be running at all.
This mix of bikes is as fantastic as puzzling. Intriguing!
In reply to ^ Good thoughts. I could see… by Motoshrink
I also think the Suzuki would perform well on Pirellis. The engine would also probably last quite a bit longer than a 600cc engine, but can the riders keep the bikes upright long enough to leverage the reliability benefit? I'm not sure how many GSX-R750s are still available in the EU, now that Suzuki have forfeited emissions certification. GSX-R600 suffers the same drawback.
Regarding torque mapping, it's definitely tough. They do the same in Superbike, but everything is 1000cc 4-cylinder. Superbike also allows far more upgrades. In Supersport the bikes require or the sanctioning body allows a variety of modifications (are lack thereof) to help them reach the homologated torque map. Ducati appear to have very few engine modifications, while other bikes have substantial parts lists. Balancing this many motorcycle types is surely a headache, but I'm guessing it's a laboratory for the future.
Imposing uniformity on the production market is failing somewhat spectacularly in Superbike as the bikes fall afoul of emission regulations, while the cost, performance, and lack of comfort appear to have scared away the average sport motorcyclist. Even the national series are struggling to the current SBK rules. The 1000cc 4-cylinder platform seems too outlandish for production racing, imo. Given the uncertainty of consumptive patterns and regulatory crack downs, the FIM and Dorna are probably reluctant to create a new formula that imposes uniformity on the market. Instead, they will balance whatever survives the cull.
Anyway, crazy days for production racing. Unclear what the future holds, but it could be good if the manufacturers care enough to keep the SBK circus alive.
In reply to Torque map by phoenix1
^ Indeed. If you are curious…
^ Indeed. If you are curious to see something different, have a peek at what bikes are currently running in MotoAmerica's "Super Hooligan" class...KTM 890 Duke, Energica E-naked, a BMW, American big twins et al.
Won't be long before "which class can the 2nd Gen Ducati E-sportbike run in?" has the blend of battery and gas machines -- might well be Supertwins w the Aprilia 660 and Yamaha R7 in 5 yrs or so?
In reply to ^ Indeed. If you are curious… by Motoshrink
Oh, thanks for the tip…
Oh, thanks for the tip Shrink - that class sounds super juicy. I'm definitely keen to see some of those machines swapping paint and tearing up tarmac.
Also +1 to your previous comments about the indentation for comment replies. How many replies until it's one letter per line?!
In reply to Oh, thanks for the tip… by guy smiley
Diminishing column width
Yes the continuing narrowing of the column is taking us to an absurd point.
Those 500 revolutions per minute Kawasaki have been missing, Dorna gave 400 more rpm to Triumph for the Moto2 engine. That's good news.
Is it next week yet?
In reply to Diminishing column width by Apical
Does anyone else have to…
Does anyone else have to scroll through the article to find the new comments?
In reply to Does anyone else have to… by spongedaddy
Yes, I do. I can't jump to…
Yes, I do. I can't jump to them via the link now.
In reply to Rev cuts/additions, Superconcessions by Motoshrink
Paddock Chat is that Kawa…
Paddock Chat is that Kawa went the wrong way with their development and that reverting to the older spec would let them take adv of the extra revs but the new upgraded engine probably wouldnt. I think it's basically a case of maxing out the potential of the bike in a certain direction and now they've tried something to find a solution all in one go.
In terms of SSP we'll try and include it in PPP when we have a chance but there's usually so much to cover in SBK that it's very difficult to manage it every week! We should get a good illustration of the potential of the Honda from Assen onwards when we have the full race-spec engine. For Rd1 and 2 it was a stock engine and wayyyyyyy down on power. Lets wait and see! It'll be tuned (I think) by Clive Padgett and that bike is always fast at the NW200 and the TT in roads trim so hopefully that helps translate thing to the WorldSSP package
In reply to Paddock Chat is that Kawa… by Steve.English
HRC Engine Kit
Thanks for the information. I was unaware that Honda were using a stock engine, and had not yet homologated or implemented an engine kit for Next Gen competition. Hopefully, Honda will be on the pace at Assen. It's difficult to watch Mackenzie circulate at the back of the field considering he was British Superbike champion just a couple of seasons ago.
It’s a shame he missed a race due to illness, and taking out his teams other rider wasn’t very smart. Aside from those two things what is the general assessment of how he is adapting and riding in WSBK?
In reply to Remy Gardner by Morgs
It was a shame to see Remy…
It was a shame to see Remy sick at the last round but he did a good job when he got on track for Sunday. He's a good rider and the mistake in Australia obviously was a bad one but he's adapted well to the Superbike. The Yamaha is obviously a very good package so it's a good bike to jump into and with Domi, Loka and Brad Ray there'll be a lot of competition to challenge each other this season. Podiums can be a target for Gardner but you've got to be patient with riders switching to SBK...it aint no walk in the park!
In reply to It was a shame to see Remy… by Steve.English
Yikes: Sykes' bike?!
Thanks for this, and for the excellent commentary on the streaming broadcasts. At the other end of the championship - what's up with Sykes' Puccetti ZX-10RR?? If I'm not mistaken, he's retired from all six races with mechanicals. Seems odd, given his skillset, the "no surprises here" Kawasaki, and an experienced team.
In reply to Yikes: Sykes' bike?! by Merlin
Thanks Merlin, appreciate…
Thanks Merlin, appreciate you enjoying it!
Personally, I'd not be too surprised if Tom doesn't last beyond the next few rounds. It must be a very difficult situation for a former champ and one that would still feel he could be competitive. They had electronic issues at Phillip Island and then mechanicals again in Indonesia. At the end of the day if the factory riders are having a tough time it's not going to be easy on the independant bike. Don't be too surprised to see Can Oncu on the Superbike before the end of the season...
Ducati vs. The Field
I'm not surprised Ducati would open the season with focused performances from Alvaro Bautista. I am surprised that the field is not focused and has fared poorly to open the season.
Superbike is balance of performance so it's not like the bikes can move from front-runners to deadwood during the offseason. Ducati appear to have an advantage homologating updates, while the other manufacturers have a much longer time to market. The engines are basically fixed so it's just rearranging the mousetrap and maybe updating the electronics that make the difference. In my opinion, if Ducati can make big strides against other teams by increasing the speed of updates and homologations, it means the super concessions rules need to become the rules because Ducati basically have super-concessions of their own by way of their production line and model update process.
Of course, super concessions for all would erode the cost containment measures they've put in place to make Superbike a more cost-effective series. No easy way out. Ducati is the fly in every jar of ointment these days. Gigi has a reputation to uphold.
In reply to Ducati vs. The Field by phoenix1
"...if Ducati can make big strides against other teams by increasing the speed of updates and homologations, it means the super concessions rules need to become the rules because Ducati basically have super-concessions of their own by way of their production line and model update process."
Good observation about Ducati's nimble homologation of race bikes for sale to the public. It is impressive what Ducati has pulled off in recent years (warning: Ducati fanboy here : -), given their size in the global market. Some numbers below that hint at their status as "fly in the ointment" is both because of and in spite of: (from https://deallab.info/en/global-market-share-analysis-of-motorcycle-industry/) - 2020 by revenue:
No. 1 Honda 22.6%
No. 2 Yamaha 10.4%
No. 3 Hero MotoCorp 5.9%
No. 4 Bajaj 5.1%
No. 5 Harley-Davidson 4.4%
No. 6 BMW 3.7%
No. 7 TVS Motor 3.1%
No. 8 Suzuki 2.6%
No. 9 Kawasaki Heavy Industries 2.3%
No. 10 Piaggio 2.1%
No. 11 KTM 1.8%
No. 12 Ducati 1.1%
No. 13 Loncin Motor 0.8%
No. 14 Lifan 0.7%
As has been said, Ducati is like Ferrari, they sell bikes to fund racing vs. going racing to sell bikes. That said, some of my middle-income buddies choose and can afford to buy Ducatis (vs. #1-11 above). Not so much Ferraris!
In reply to Ducati vs. The Field by phoenix1
“Ducati appear to have an…
“Ducati appear to have an advantage homologating updates, while the other manufacturers have a much longer time to market.”
I’d be very interested your reasoning/evidence for this statement.
The rules are available to all and sundry, so it’s not like there is some secret homologation avenue that Ducati employ. You do not need to homologate a specific engine spec, you just need to ensure your engine meets the given spec: big difference.
Not saying it is the case, but if Kawasaki (for example) choose to explore the avenue of a new model (that isn’t) and apply higher camshaft lift in line with the “new” model only to find the “new” model isn’t actually very new, that should in no way diminish Ducati’s efforts to optimise their cams within the already specified limits. (Again, all for example only)
As long as you are working within the limits it’s open slather, it’s only when you choose to step outside the limits that the rulebook gets waved.
Bottom line, if Ducati build a bike to the WSB rules and Kawasaki/Yamaha/Honda choose not to, why should Ducati be penalised for that? The best bike/rider should win, should they not?
In reply to “Ducati appear to have an… by Seven4nineR
I decided to fact check myself using the homologation papers. Ducati have only homologated two completely new bikes. Honda have homologated 3 times. Kawasaki have homologated a complete ZX-10RR on 4 separate occasions. BMW have homologated 4 times. Yamaha appears to have only homologated 2 times.
Ducati are homologating complete models less frequently, though they did just homologate a major upgrade in January 23. The advantage of their platform is more likely related to it's adaptability, and the updates they are making to the Superbike kit, rather than updating the production model itself. Ducati have also reportedly built the Panigale V4 around the Pirelli world superbike tires, and that's why the bike struggles a bit in the US where Dunlop supplies the control tire. The Japanese, on the other hand, are constantly updating new cylinder heads, variable intake trumpets, upgraded connecting rods, and crankshafts to address issues that the superbike kit cannot (apparently) fix.
Ducati's advantage is homologation, I think, but it's for the kit, not the standard bike. From 2018 until Bautista won the title in 2022, Ducati were only updating the Superbike kits (according to the homologation papers). The other manufacturers seem to be homologating updates frequently because they can't get the kit to perform without upgrades to the underlying homologated machine.
Regarding engine spec, I think it is homologated. The reference team gets to decide the blend of parts and engine tune that will replicate the prescribed torque map. The electronic tattle-tales allow the sanctioning body to ensure that the engine is running according to the homologated power output. All other teams follow the tuning set forth by the reference team, and the reference team follows their own homologation. Getting the kit right and ensuring the engine power meshes will with the electronics and gear ratios is important.