With part of the WorldSBK paddock present in Barcelona for the MotoGP race last weekend, the Superbike Commission, the series' rulemaking body, met at Montmelo to discuss changes to the WorldSBK rules. Though much of what was agreed in the meeting amounted to a tidying up of the starting procedure, a big talking point was the introduction of a single ECU.
The various members of the Superbike Commission discussed whether a spec ECU should be introduced for the 2018 season. They did not reach an agreement on the subject at Barcelona, but, according to the press release issued by the FIM, they do expect the matter to be settled within the next few weeks.
This suggests that the introduction of a spec ECU is inevitable. Dorna and the FIM will be pushing hard for this, as the spec ECU is perceived to have been a success in MotoGP, leveling the playing field between the different factories. Whether it will be such a success in WorldSBK remains to be proven, as there are many more factors involved in the series, most particularly the fact that the bikes are based on production vehicles, limiting the base from where development begins. Whether that will be addressed at a later date remains to be seen.
The press release issued by the FIM containing the minutes of the Superbike commission are shown below:
FIM Superbike & Supersport World Championships
Changes to the Regulations for 2017
The Superbike Commission composed of Messrs Gregorio Lavilla (WorldSBK Sporting Director), Rezsö Bulcsu (FIM CCR Director) Takanao Tsubouchi (MSMA Representative), in the presence of Messrs Daniel Carrera (WorldSBK Executive Director), Franck Vayssié and Paul Duparc (FIM) in a meeting held in Barcelona-Catalunya (ESP) on 09 June, made a few changes to the 2017 MOTUL FIM Superbike & Supersport World Championships Regulations.
The goal was to clarify the Rules, as deemed necessary.
1. Slight changes have been carried out to the start procedure, clarifying that any rider who crashes or encounters problems during the sighting lap(s) is permitted to reach the pit lane safely under the instructions of the officials. Obviously the Race Direction is not responsible for ensuring the machine and rider reach the pit lane in time to start. However, all reasonable efforts will be made to assist the team and rider. His bike will be checked in the pit lane for safety reasons, by the Technical Director (or his appointed deputy) who will have the authority to allow or not the machine to start (or restart).
2. With the same philosophy, should a rider crash during any practice or qualifying session and wish to re-join the session, then at the discretion of the track marshals, he may re- join the track and must proceed directly to the pit lane. The rider is responsible of the safety with his machine until he reaches the pit lane. His bike will be checked in the pit lane, for safety reasons, by the Technical Director (or his appointed deputy) who will have the authority to allow or not the machine to restart.
3. It was also clarified that in the case of a race interrupted prior to a ride-through being complied with or notified to, and if there is a second or subsequent parts, the rider will be required to ride through after the start of the second or subsequent parts of the race.
4. In Supersport 300, in case of a withdrawal of a permanent rider, a qualified substitute rider may be proposed by the team to the approval of FIM and Dorna up to one hour before the Free Practice 2 (whereas it remains up to one hour before Free Practice 3 for the SBK, Supersport and Superstock 1000).
5. Should a re-started race be interrupted and Race Direction deems it possible to re- start, then the conditions for a further re-start may be carried out as follows: If the re-started race is interrupted when two-thirds of the current race distance (two- thirds must be minimum 5 laps) rounded down to the nearest whole number of laps have been completed, the race will be deemed to have been completed and full Championship points awarded.
If the re-started race is interrupted when less than two-thirds of the current race distance rounded down to the nearest whole number of laps have been completed, the race would be re-started at a further time if possible, for the same number of laps as the first re-start.
In the case of rain after the sighting or warm up lap(s) the delayed start procedure will continue. If the race is delayed but not due to weather conditions but the conditions can be quickly resolved, then the rain delayed start procedure will be applied.
After this, considering the problem is not track related we would like to start the race with a quickstart procedure to save time.
6. For Superbike and Supersport contracted riders, participating in a National Championship events are permitted. However, participating partly or fully in the official sessions and race of such event will be considered as 1 (one) test day only in the restricted number of practice days.
For European Superstock, European Supersport and Supersport (300), riders can participate at any National Championship event without any restrictions.
There were no decisions taken for an immediate application. However, the possibility of controlling and applying a single Electronic Control Unit in the SBK class for 2018 was discussed. The final decision about using a single ECU would be taken within the following weeks.
The 2017 MOTUL FIM Superbike & Supersports World Championships Regulations will be available at FIM-LIVE.COM within the next two weeks.