Major New Rules For WSBK: 1 Bike Per Rider, Twins Weight Limits Increased, Engine Limits In Supersport

The World Superbike series is to undergo a major shakeup for 2012: As of next season, a number of key rules are to be introduced which organizers Infront hope will drastically cut the cost of competing in the three main classes which make up the World Superbike series, including a single-bike rule and the introduction of engine limits for the support classes. In addition, after Carlos Checa's dominant championship win in 2011, the weight limits for two-cylinder motorcycles have been revised.

The biggest change is the introduction of the one-bike rule: From now on, in all three classes (World Superbike, World Supersport, and FIM Superstock 1000) the teams will only be allowed to have one complete bike scrutineered at a time. This means that riders will no longer have two bikes per rider in the garage, but just a single bike ready to race, exactly as is the case with Moto2 and 125cc (soon to become Moto3) in Grand Prix. The objective is to make it easier for privateer teams to compete with the factory teams. Some privateers already only have a single bike, and forcing everyone to go to just a single bike in the garage both levels the playing field and saves the teams a significant amount of money. Infront boss Paolo Flammini is said to believe that the savings could be as much as 300,000 euros per team.

But allowing just a single bike requires a number of changes to the way a race weekend is run. The flag-to-flag rule has had to be dropped, as riders can no longer come in to change machines. Instead, races which start off dry but become wet (i.e. it starts raining) will be red-flagged and restarted as required. Riders will still be able to come into the pits during wet races and change tires, if the track starts to dry out, but given that changing wheels is a lot more time consuming than just leaping from one bike on wet tires onto another fitted with slicks, it is unlikely that anyone will risk it.

The Superpole format has also had to be modified, with just 2 sessions of 20 minutes in wet conditions, the field being cut from 16 down to 8 at the end of the first session. In the dry, the current three-session format will remain. The other practice sessions have all been reduced in length from an hour to just 45 minutes, though their number (two free practice sessions and two qualifying practice sessions, along wth Superpole) remain the same.

There are more changes aimed at cutting costs, with engine restrictions introduced for the Supersport and Superstock classes. The engine allocation system will be very similar to that currently used in MotoGP, with WSS riders limited to 8 engines per season, and Superstock riders allowed just 3 engines to last all season. The change is aimed at drastically cutting back the tuning costs in the two support classes, with some teams rebuilding engines after each meeting. Engine restrictions remain off limits for WSBK, with the current state of engine tuning allowed making it difficult for the engines to last.

An extra change which has been introduced for the WSBK class has been an alteration in the minimum weights of the different classes of machines. At the moment, both twins and four-cylinder bikes must weigh at least 165kg, with weight adjustments applied using a special performance balancing system. From 2012, the twins must weigh at least 171kgs, while the fours remain at 165kgs. Aprilia was known to be pushing hard for this change, while Ducati had been threatening a revolt over any change to the weight limits. This has been allowed through for next year because of the introduction of Ducati's new Panigale 1199 superbike, which uses a high-revving extremely oversquare engine. Though the bike is not to be raced in WSBK in 2012, Ducati appear to have acquiesced in the hope that the performance balancing system - which is also to be modified - will be altered in their favor, and they will soon be back at the same weight as the fours.

The final change is another cost-cutting measure: there had been moves afoot to radically limit testing, as at the moment, there are virtually no limits at all on the amount the riders can test. The radical approach has been rejected, and instead, a seven-week winter break has been introduced, similar to that imposed by MotoGP, preventing contracted riders and teams from practicing between December 1st and January 15th of the following year. Outside of the winter break, teams can test as much as they like, but those seven weeks should reduce the amount of testing being done to reasonable amounts.

Below is the press release containing full details of the rule changes:


FIM Superbike & Supersport World Championships
FIM Superstock Cup

Changes to the Regulations

The Superbike Commission, composed of Mr Paolo Flammini (IMS Chief Executive Officer), Ignacio Verneda (FIM Executive Director, Sport), Giulio Bardi (Team representative), during a telephone conference held on October 27th, with the participation of Mr Paolo Ciabatti (IMS Director), Charles Hennekam (FIM CTI Coordinator) and Paul Duparc (FIM CCR Coordinator) unanimously decided to introduce the following modifications to the Road Racing Superbike & Supersport World Championship and FIM Superstock Cup. Changes in bold.

Immediate Application

PRACTICE RESTRICTIONS
Practice by riders and teams contracted to compete in the FIM Superbike World Championship is prohibited from the 1st of December until the 15th of January.

Application from 01/01/2012

AGE OF COMPETITORS

Superstock riders: riders born between 1st January 1986 and 29th March 1996.

SCHEDULE

Free and qualifying practices for Superbike reduced from 60 to 45 minutes.

New timetable for the Superpole.

DRY SUPERPOLE FOR SUPERBIKE

  • The first 16 riders of the qualifying practice results will take part in Superpole 1.
  • The first 12 riders of the Superpole 1 results will take part in Superpole 2.
  • The first 8 riders of the Superpole 2 results will take part in Superpole 3.

WET SUPERPOLE FOR SUPERBIKE

  • The first 16 riders of the qualifying practice results will take part in the wet Superpole 1 for 20 minutes.
  • The first 8 riders of the wet Superpole 1 results will take part in wet Superpole for 20 minutes.

WEATHER CONDITIONS FOR RACES FOR ALL CLASSES (SUPERBIKE INCLUDED)

Dry Races - A race classified as dry will be interrupted by the Race Director, if he considers that weather conditions affecting the surface of the track make it likely that riders will wish to change tyres.

Wet Races - A race classified as wet, usually commenced in variable or wet conditions, will not be interrupted for climatic reasons and riders who wish to change tyres or make adjustments must enter the pits and do so during the actual race.

In all cases where the first race is stopped for climatic reasons, then the restart will, automatically, be a "wet" race.

INTERRUPTION OF A RACE (RED FLAG)

All riders competing in the race at the time the red flag was displayed can restart (providing they are ready for the restarted race).

TECHNICAL CONTROLS

Teams may present for Technical Control one (1) motorcycle per rider for the Superbike, Supersport and Superstock classes, which will be specially identified by the Technical Controllers.

MINIMUM WEIGHT FOR SUPERBIKE

1000cc 3 and 4 Cylinders: 165 Kg
1200cc 2 Cylinders: 171 Kg
There is no tolerance on the minimum weight.

MINIMUM WEIGHT FOR SUPERSTOCK

The minimum weight for each model will be calculated by reducing the "dry weight" of the motorcycle by 8% and rounding off the result to the lower whole number.
In any case the minimum weight cannot be lower than 165 Kg.
There is no tolerance on the minimum weight.

BALANCING VARIOUS MOTORCYCLE CONCEPTS – SUPERBIKE

The procedure for the application of handicaps to 1200cc 2 Cylinder motorcycles has been modified.

ENGINE – SUPERSPORT

The total number of engines that can be used by each rider during the entire Championship is limited to eight (8).

ENGINE – SUPERSTOCK

The total number of engines that can be used by each rider during the entire Championship is limited to three (3).

PENALTIES FOR BEHAVIOUR DURING THE EVENT

- Penalties that may be pronounced by the Race Direction

  • a warning
  • a fine
  • a drop of position
  • a ride through
  • a time penalty
  • a drop of any number of grid positions at the rider's next race
  • a disqualification
  • a withdrawal of Championship points
  • a suspension

Furthermore, the Race Direction can refer the case to the International Disciplinary Court (CDI) in order to impose a higher penalty than the Race Direction is empowered to do.

- Penalties that may be pronounced by the FIM Stewards Panel only following an appeal:

  • a warning
  • a fine
  • a time penalty
  • a drop of any number of grid positions at the rider's next race
  • a disqualification
  • a withdrawal of Championship points
  • a suspension

Furthermore, the FIM Stewards Panel can refer the case to the International Disciplinary Court (CDI) in order to impose a higher penalty than the FIM Stewards Panel is empowered to do.

FIRST TIME APPLICATION FOR HOMOLOGATION

The same procedure described for the Superbike homologation will also apply to the Supersport homologation for manufacturers which have never taken part in the FIM Supersport World Championship with any of their models.

The deadline by which the total production quantity (1000 units for first time application or 2000 units for subsequent homologations) must be reached is the 31st of December of the year in which the homologation has been obtained.

OTHER SPORTING MODIFICATIONS, TECHNICAL AND DISCIPLINARY REGULATIONS WILL BE AVAILABLE SOON on http://www.fim-live.com/en/sport/official-documents-ccr/codes-and-regulations/

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Comments

A single bike and two races a day could make for bad losses of points if crash or major mechanical problems from race one can't be repaired or rectified for the second race.

Total votes: 171

Can someone explain to me the logic behind a single bike rule allowing a rolling chassis? That means certainly that all of the bits required to run that bike in full form will travel with and be ready for the bike. That doesn't sound like cost savings at all, just more things to do for the crew.

I just don't get it.

Total votes: 172

with the others nowhere to be seen on the points table, as all the other lead riders of other marques trip over themselves, and Ducati get penalised? All on the back of a fear on a new machine that is not even intended to be raced 2012? Knee jerk, bullshit politics.

The 1198 already has restrictor plates in the intake. I thought the current regs were working very well. Ducati's 20% capacity advanatge for their twin over the fours, with restrictor plates is a far cry from the early 1990's where the rules gave them a truly unfair 33% capacity advantage and a 15% weight advantage (140kg vs 165kgs) with no intake restrictions.

Aprilia built a twin and couldn't beat Ducati, now they've built a four and are bleating. Pathetic.

2011 was more about Carlos Checa and less about the 1198 Ducati to me.

Total votes: 174

Originally by : Submitted by Nostrodamus on Fri, 2011-10-28 05:59.
Site Supporter

" Aprilia built a twin and couldn't beat Ducati, now they've built a four and are bleating. Pathetic. "

Consider your statemet Nostradumus and read further >

REWIND to 11/03/2001
Valencia Superpole 1st > Troy Corser, Aprilia RSV Twin

Valencia Race 1 > 1st Place Troy Corser on Aprilia RSVR Twin Cylinder

Race 2 , 1st Place , Troy Corser on Aprilia RSVR Twin Cylinder

Full results on : www.worldsbk.com/en/season.html

Next time you blow your socks on this credible forum, get your facts straight. All the supporters frequenting this forum do not stoop to the level of ' bar talk ' .

Total votes: 128

So are we to assume that Ducati will not be racing to win this next season.

Total votes: 158

Do not believe anything about saving costs. The point is that SBK is 2 good to continue in this form. Its slightly slower than mgp with extremely lower cost and based on our bikes!! Because of this championship exists bikes like current Gixxer, R1, Zx, 1198, S1000, Cbr (in this kind of form). Only benefits for us (almost, not exactly) with a cost so low for factories that makes mgp wc look ridiculous expensive and unnecessary.

But in mgp there is a lot people working and its about prototypes, they develop the future parts of your bikes they say, lining to us by not telling the entire truth.
The thing is about sponsors and tv $ (+ their gifts...).
SBK is a lot cheaper + more fun and interesting for us to watch but it just does not pay them enough.
So there is only one way. Steel engines from it, give it 17inch wheels, cut 1 bike, destroy it, kill it and the fans will tern to the prototype wc.
Hey Fab bros guess what. You didn't sell only SBK to them. You give up to all the fans also.
Sorry but no respect from me. Just anger.
Prototypes?...CRTs?...haha sorry those hypocrites makes me laugh.

Total votes: 188

We, as in the buying public, want to buy over-weight, over-powered motorcycles, for the most part. So that is what the manufacturers build, so that is what they want to race. And they don't want anyone to see that slightly less powerful motorcycles can actually be just as effective.

All just politics and marketing.

But has anyone even attempted to explain how having a spare bike in parts is 300,000€ cheaper than a spare bike assembled?

Total votes: 171

In a two-bike setup, you have two fully assembled bikes plus at least one bike in parts in the truck. In a one-bike setup, you have one fully assembled bike plus at least one bike in parts in the truck. Unless you're Marc Marquez, in which case you have two bikes in parts in the truck.

Total votes: 140

I thought they would be allowed to have a complete 2nd bike in the truck? Just that it wouldn't have been scruitineered and so no chance to use it immediately if they need? Or does scruitineering only happen once on a race weekend before the very first on-track sessions, with no further chance to have a bike scruitineered during the weekend?

Total votes: 161

I should presume that a rider would have to have a crash damaged / engine blown machine 'withdrawn' before a new machine can be scrutineered so that only one bike may be official in use at any one time. The scrutineering bay should be open at any time during the course of a race weekend.

Total votes: 155

WSBK was/is becoming unaffordable. Last year the same was true for the WSS machines. The introduction of the single bike rule for WSS led directly (according to Parkalgar) of more bikes on the grid. They took their 4 bikes for one team and created 4 bikes for 2 teams. They determined that it wasn't significantly more expensive to do that than just run the single team.

With grid sizes <20 bikes we need more bikes and riders capable of raising the money to go racing. It only takes a small economic shock or even a team to have rider or funding issues and we have grid sizes the same pathetic level we have in Motogp.

Total votes: 158

Come on. I don't see how the one bike rule will save the series. Those teams that did not have the resources to run two bikes still will not have the resources to compete against factory or even simply financially stronger teams. Those smaller teams are realistically not in the running for the title. God bless them for being a big part of the show but they were never going to win.

Total votes: 181

Ive never seen the logic behind WSBK's qualifying system.
There are 2 qualifying sessions (1 friday and 1 saturday). The only point of these qualifying sessions is to sort out which riders arent going into Superpole.
IMO they should take a leaf out of BSB's book, ditch Q1 & Q2, convert them to free practice sessions and allow everyone to enter Superpole in the same fashion BSB does.

Total votes: 152

It's not about logic, it's about the spectacle and creating drama.

Just so long as they don't adopt the BSB scoring system .

Total votes: 144

I feel silly asking but can anybody explain what exactly it is and what it's able to do? How it works and what it looks like? Who owns it / operates it, and when is it actually used? Any pic's or links would be great as well. I think I have a basic Idea of what it is and what it must do, but I'm more interested in reading or seeing what it looks like and what its actual capabilities are. Thanks all.

Total votes: 162

The performance balancing system is something of a misnomer. It is the process by which at the end of every three races, the relative standings of the twins and fours is assessed, and weight either added or subtracted from the minimum allowed weight for the engine configuration which has benefited most. So, for example, either weight will be added to the twins if they are dominating, or subtracted from the twins if the four-cylinder bikes are dominating. 

So it is not a physical system. It is merely a process of managing the weight differential.

Total votes: 176

Ahhh ... Ok. Im glad I asked because in my head I was actually visualizing some sort of machine that the bikes were physically mounted to and some how balanced with the new weights. So Im assuming that the teams actually decide where the added or subtracted weight will be placed and they have to tune their setups around that? For different reasons Is there a certain weighted material that they prefer to use David?

You voted 5. Total votes: 153

Here's what no one will tell you:

WSBK is designed to equalize performance b/c production racing is ("was" might be more appropriate) about sales. If one bike has a major performance advantage, the other brands won't go racing. If you think MotoGP is expensive, what do you think it costs to retool an entire mass production facility and retrain all of the workers? Performance balancing prevents the BMW S1000RR from steaming past the Suzuki on the front straight eve though the Bimmer should have a 30hp advantage in race trim.

The performance balancing rules change every season to give the appearance of technological progress, but the cost of retuning the engines and reworking the electronics is extremely costly, hence, rumors are flying around about a fixed rev limit like the rev limit in BSB or AMA. Imo, a fixed rev limit will arrive in 2013. Yamaha Italia have already done the development for 2012 so they have announced withdrawal of the "factory" team.

Unfortunately, the performance balancing rules are dependent upon displacement so Ducati's move to 1200cc has complicated matters. The performance balancing rules in the homologation papers had to be moved (partially) into the main rulebook b/c Ducati aren't going to sell the 1198R with the air restrictors installed. Since 2008, ducati are required to adhere to a system of air restrictors and minimum weights to participate. They don't like it, and that's why they aren't introducing the 1199 next season. The rules agreements are 5 years like MotoGP, but they have been unable to renegotiate early. The new 1199R is absurdly over square persuant to a torque-balancing formula, imo. If the torque and power are normalized across all brands with the new 1199R engine, Ducati will go back to the same min weight as everyone else, and the MSMA will let them ditch the air restrictor. Much better terms to introduce a new $20,000 SBK, no?

Total votes: 173

Good points. I think the Ducati scenario was kinda mirrored last year by the Aprilia which I believe had a gear driven valve train which only came on a very small number of bikes not every other one coming off the line. The rules changed to prevent them from doing that this year.

I do think the WSBK rules are a tough balancing act because the bikes need some leeway to be the fastest "production" based bikes in the world yet they want a even playing field and factories to sell the bikes they race in street trim. MotoGP to me represents something altogether different. The smaller grid in MotoGP is sad yes but I think it's supposed to differ from WSBK by pushing the absolute pinnacle of technology and dropping lap times year after year. That isn't cheap but a lot of the technology eventually does trickle down to consumers and in MotoGP a larger grid doesn't automatically equal tighter racing. If it's gonna be mainly a parade series for many of the rounds I at least want to see the craziest ideas put on a bike and lap times crying "uncle". If teams can't afford that level of tech then there's WSBK or Moto2 which is already the series with the elbow to elbow racing more often than not. Just my 2 cents.

Total votes: 171

"Free and qualifying practices for Superbike reduced from 60 to 45 minutes."

With only one bike, I'd think you'd need more practice time to make changes.

Total votes: 180

Typo in the 5th paragraph

"with WSS riders limited to 8 enginers per season" Should be engines.

Total votes: 156

The Liberty and Supersonic teams did not exactly dominate, they were largely mid pack the entire year. How can 1 Bike doing well penalize an entire brand? Thats just amazing to me.

Total votes: 163

The provisional grid sees more riders opting for the twin. I wonder how many would have gone this route had the rules between announced prior to the teams commitment to the twin. Monza will be a joke. Ducati's not 20 km/hr slower than the fours,more like 30 next season. The 3 race result balance is a joke. I hope the 4 cylinder riders trounce the podium for the first 3 races if only to restore a little parity. I never did agree with the mooted, rider/mass/ballast handicap in GP.
I don't even agree with any capacity 2,3 and 4 cylinder ratio issues. Race on Sunday,buy on Monday is what SBK should be about. To be more specific, STK is what SBK should be. Homologate a road bike you and I can purchase. Lose the peripherals. Add an over the counter performance exhaust kit and thats it,along with over the counter tires from any manufacturer. SBK is a nowhere series. A quasi prototype road bike series.Smells like CRT.
I will continue to watch and enjoy SBK as I always have done,but as a series its, well,WSBK and all that that entails.

Total votes: 177

Have to agree with you there.

I honestly don't think the initial idea introduced in 1988 was to go as far as WSBK has gone now.
For too many years, they've been too much "prototyped". Too expensive to run, prepare and maintain, too different of the production bikes they're based on (the levels of tuning in these machines is insane sometimes).

Regarding bike tuning limitations, what we see today in "SuperStock 1000" (STK 1000), or maybe in "SuperSport 600" (WSS), is basically what WSBK should always have been.
Just let them keep using slick tyres instead of grooved tyres.

Total votes: 159

I'd have thought an engine limit on WSBK would make sense too.

For the weight limit on Ducati... wouldn't it work better to just require Carlos to ride something else?

Total votes: 167

I cannot believe I am going to say that .... but why not to penalize Checa for his skills in 2011, rather than a bike which clearly was not dominating in that year???

It's just disappointing to see what is going on here. Really is.

Total votes: 145

Limit engines? 1 bike per rider? 45 min practice?

WSBK is going to become as stupid as MotoGP. I'm disgusted. It's world class racing not club racing. If a team can't afford a bike then go fishing or something.

Total votes: 157

An interesting idea:
-The manufacturers of 4 cylinder bikes think the Ducati is too good under the current rules.
-It's already the least powerful bike on the grid and they didn't choose to reduce its power further, they decided to add weight.
-Which suggests that maybe a 30hp deficit doesn't matter so much, since most of the time the extra power is useless (and is blocked by traction control and wheelie control).

So, if someone can manage to build a CRT bike that handles as well as an M1 or an RCV213, it could be game on :)

Total votes: 144