After the Grand Prix Commission abolished penalty points at their meeting at Qatar, it was inevitable that they would meet the same fate in World Superbikes. At the latest meeting of the Superbike Commission, the rule-making body for the WorldSBK series, the penalty point system was abolished in WorldSBK, just as it has been in MotoGP.
The reasons given are the same: Race Direction has enough penalties already to deal with any infringements of the rules. The aim is to punish riders immediately, at the same event, rather than collect up penalties over multiple rounds, and only serve a penalty later.
Beyond that, the Superbike Commission adopted a number of minor tweaks to the rules. Electric bicycles were banned for track familiarization, adding to the ban on using scooters. Given that electric bicycles covers a wide range of vehicles, from bikes with moderate pedal assistance to those capable of 80+ km/h, this is understandable. It does mean that riders with leg, foot, or ankle injuries will face greater problems scouting the track.
There were also a host of minor updates to the WorldSSP300 regulations. This should not come as a surprise, given that Aragon was the first outing of the newly created support series. The race itself proved to be highly entertaining, living up to the billing provided beforehand.
The FIM press release containing the rule changes appears below:
FIM Superbike & Supersport World Championships
Regulation updates 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), Paul Duparc and Scott Smart (FIM) in a meeting held in Motorland Aragon (ESP), April 1st, made the following changes to the 2017 MOTUL FIM Superbike & Supersports World Championship Regulations:
Sporting and Disciplinary Regulations
- Slight changes have been carried out to the Sporting rules mainly to clarify which riders are allowed to participate in the Superpoles for the SBK and Supersport classes. As a principle, it was clarified that riders over the 107% lap time recorded by fastest riders in Free Practices will not be allowed to participate in the Superpoles. However, such riders can participate in the warm up (in SBK and Supersport 600cc) and be qualified for the race, provided they set a time below 107% of the fastest riders of their classes (in that case, they will be authorised to start the race from the back of the grid).
- In addition to the ban of scooters, it was also decided to ban the use of electric bicycles for track familiarization.
- A few changes have been decided for clarifying the start procedure.
- Taking into consideration that the WorldSBK Race Direction have many penalty options, the penalty points are no longer necessary. The SBK penalty points are now withdrawn from the list of penalties.
Various technical clarifications are to be implemented into the technical rules for 2017. These clarifications concern mainly the Supersport 300 World Championship class, and will be inserted in the regulations for an immediate application.
The 2017 MOTUL FIM Superbike & Supersports World Championships Regulations will be available at FIM-LIVE.COM within the next two weeks.