Time Comparison: AMA Superbike vs. World Superbike

05/28/2011 @ 6:51 pm, by Jensen Beeler25 COMMENTS

With AMA Superbike and World Superbike sharing the same venue, with the same course, for the first time since 2004, the comparison was bound to be made between the two classes this Memorial Day weekend. The last time the two series shared the same circuit was at Laguna Seca, and not at Miller Motorsports Park as you would think. This is because the has AMA typically ran the Full Course here at MMP, while World Superbike ran the shorter the Outer Course.

With both series running the Outer Course this year, our analysis can finally be updated. While there are obvious differences between the regulations governing both series and classes, not to mention a fundamental difference in funding and dare I say it, rider talent, the comparison is still interesting to make between the two Championships. Check out after the jump how the two compared during Saturday’s Qualifying Practice sessions.

The American riders have the home field advantage at Miller Motorsports Park, but the WSBK riders come with team budgets that in some cases at 10x more than those found in the AMA paddock. World Superbike also has the added feature of selecting riders from across the globe, with ratio to potential riders to actual seats being far greater.

Still despite these differences, it’s worthy to note that several AMA Superbike riders would be competitive at World Superbike’s sole-American stop. We’ll let you to ponder the what-ifs in the comments section. AMA riders have been highlighted in grey to make the comparison easier below.

Pos No. Rider Bike Time
1 7 Carlos Checa Ducati 1098R 1’48.260
2 2 Leon Camier Aprilia RSV4 Factory 1’49.055
3 1 Max Biaggi Aprilia RSV4 Factory 1’49.306
4 66 Tom Sykes Kawasaki ZX-10R 1’49.432
5 11 Troy Corser BMW S1000 RR 1’49.552
6 4 Johnny Rea Honda CBR1000RR 1’49.621
7 96 Jakub Smrz Ducati 1098R 1’49.683
8 58 Eugene Laverty Yamaha YZF R1 1’49.708
9 84 Michel Fabrizio Suzuki GSX-R1000 1’49.855
10 86 Ayrton Badovini BMW S1000 RR 1’49.881
11 41 Noriyuki Haga Aprilia RSV4 Factory 1’49.938
12 33 Marco Melandri Yamaha YZF R1 1’50.136
13 50 Sylvain Guintoli Ducati 1098R 1’50.140
14 111 Ruben Xaus Honda CBR1000RR 1’50.149
15 12 Joshua Waters Suzuki GSX-R1000 1’50.153
16 91 Leon Haslam BMW S1000 RR 1’50.159
17 17 Joan Lascorz Kawasaki ZX-10R 1’50.195
18 52 James Toseland BMW S1000 RR 1’50.306
19 1 Josh Hayes Yamaha R1 1’50.401
20 79 Blake Young Suzuki GSX-R1000 1’50.551
21 8 Mark Aitchison Kawasaki ZX-10R 1’50.646
22 22 Tommy Hayden Suzuki GSX-R1000 1’50.664
23 121 Maxime Berger Ducati 1098R 1’50.717
24 54 Roger Hayden Suzuki GSX-R1000 1’51.196
25 72 Larry Pegram BMW S1000RR 1’51.382
26 36 Martin Cardenas Suzuki GSX-R1000 1’51.408
27 44 Roberto Rolfo Kawasaki ZX-10R 1’51.586
28 10 JD Beach Kawasaki ZX-10 1’51.746
29 8 Chris Peris BMW S1000RR 1’51.768
30 99 Geoff May Buell 1125R 1’51.963
31 25 David Anthony Suzuki GSX-R1000 1’52.138
32 2 Chris Clark Yamaha R1 1’52.196
33 15 Steve Rapp BMW S1000RR 1’52.275
34 23 Ben Bostrom Suzuki GSX-R1000 1’52.550
35 57 Jeremy Toye BMW S1000RR 1’52.553
36 62 Chris Trounson BMW S1000RR 1’53.994
37 68 Tony Kasper BMW S1000RR 1’54.713
38 33 Jordan Burgess Suzuki GSX-R1000 1’55.149
39 42 Chris Siebenhaar Suzuki GSX-R1000 1’55.504
40 12 Trent Gibson Suzuki GSX-R1000 1’57.494
41 988 Wesley Kane Suzuki GSX-R1000 1’57.731
42 9 Eric Haugo Suzuki GSX-R1000 1’58.267
43 28 Kevin Boisvert Suzuki GSX-R1000 1’58.496
44 63 Skip Salenius Yamaha R1 2’00.988

Source: AMA Pro Racing & WorldSBK; Photo: © 2011 Scott Jones Photography – All Rights Reserved

  • irta.. ;-)

  • Corey

    This shows how competitive WSB is and how uncompetitive AMA Superbike is. All the WSB bikes are within about 3 seconds of each other with most having about a one or two second spread. In AMA you have a lot of uncompetitive bikes in the field.

  • Sean in Oz

    It may be worth noting that Josh Waters sits at 15th on that list after only one previous race (Phillip Island), and with very little seat time, on the Yoshi Suzuki. Im not sure what that really says about WSBK v AMA though.

    Times this early in the weekend arent necessarily meaningful. Comparing race laps will be more relevant.

  • Chris

    Given that WBK equipment and teams have far more money thrown at them this list is not surprising. And the fact you should expect WSBK to have the best talent, it is the premier production (I use that term liberally) motorbike league.

    All this tells me about the AMA is that times and spread are not bad for how affordable the bikes are compared to what WSBK gets to field. Three and half seconds covers fifteen AMA spots and while I would like to see the whole field to be within at least five seconds it won’t stop me from watching. I am pretty pleased with the action so far in the AMA.

  • Steve

    Two seconds between Checa and Hayes is not too bad when you consider the $ to build a top level WSB VS an AMA bike. Bostrom is around 4 seconds off the WSB top time so far and he was aWSB golden fast guy in his day on the Ducati. The WSB’s as far as the equipment are in a class by themselves. On equal equipment the times would be MUCH closer. Very interesting though How about we bring back the “Match Races” and leave the AMA to do what they were intended to do and sell memberships to the AMA and stay out ofracing.

  • Loki

    I’m not following the AMA SBK but I’m surprised to see no Ducatis listed. Why is that?

  • Tom

    As someone who doesn’t know the behind-the-scenes information, just how much does a typical WSBK team spend and how much are the purses?Hhow much does a typical AMA team spend and how much are the purses?

    I ask because I am familiar with D1 drifting here in Japan and the purses are a joke of say $3000 for the winner. Money is made is shop sales due to the free D1 advertising. Plus, D1 is to professional racing what WWE is to genuine wrestling.

  • Chris

    I might be going out on a limb here but I would imagin it is because they are not very competitive without “trick” or factory works parts. And I believe Ducati USA doesn’t provide much support for AMA SBK. The 848 EVO does seam to be owning the AMA DSB class though.

  • BBQdog

    The difference in the top between AMA en WSB is bigger then WSB and MotoGP.
    No wonder MotoGP is going back to 1000cc. WSB is getting too close.

  • sunstroke

    1000cc isn’t going to make MotoGP appreciably faster b/c the fuel capacity will remain at 21L.

    The results of the AMA vs. WSBK comparison are more or less what I expected. AMA is basically the same tuning rules as WSS. It’s sad to see that $100,000 in titanium engine parts, carbon fiber, and factory electronics are only good for about 1-2 seconds per lap, but that’s the way WSBK is designed. If you compare top Yamaha to top Yamaha, Hayes is less than a second off WSBK pace. Young is less than 1 second from Fabrizio.

    The rules package in AMA SBK is decent. DSB and Supersport are not where they need to be.

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  • Ben Faster

    Well, for some reason I thought the AMA guys were faster at Laguna a few years ago???
    I think a lot of people commenting must think think there is a VAST difference between the equipment cost but do any of you guys actually know? It was my generally unconfirmed impression that a WSB bike is more or less int he $100 to $120K range where as the top AMA teams could expect to spend $60K to $85K tops.

    In terms of rider talent in each series: Getting a good factory ride in either has about 50% to do with rider ability – much of it is “other” factors. Once a decent rider is in and on good equipment, with a good technical team and access to the best stuff – it gets a lot easier to be “world class”.

    Great comparison ! I think both series have done a good job of making a great show of it – only thing left would be to put on an exhibition race where the top 5 of each series race head to head for 5 laps.

  • Claude

    I am surprised that there are just 3 tenths between Melandri on the full-on WSBK R1 and Hayes on the comparably simple AMA superbike. Melandri is no slouch and the WSBK R1 is surely vastly more powerful than the AMA bike. So I am surprised that all of the megabuck exotica on the world bike is only good for less than half a second. Wonder what Hayes would do on that! The guy is riding hard!

    Could it be that stock 17-inch Dunlops are that much better than custom 16.5-inch Pirellis???

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  • Westward

    I think the major difference between the two series are three fold; Talent, Tyres, & Electronics… Its a similar difference between WBSK & MotoGP…

    The main focus would be on talent. In AMA, Spies & Mladin made the Suzuki seem like the best bike on the track, whereas in WSBK & MotoGP it wasn’t even close… AMA I think had a Schwantz effect…

    Now Hayes is the top of the class, and that may have a trickle down effect from MotoGP, in that Yamaha seems like the bike of choice…

    Spies, Mladin, & Hayes could just as easily have been successful on any other manufacturer be it Kawasaki or Honda… In the end It all really comes down to the talent, and a good set of tyres… The sophistication in the electronics separates the bikes from series to series, there is only so much one can do to an engine, and surely all the mechanics know all the tricks…

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  • MPA

    The AMA needs to bring back the REAL Superbikes.

  • Andreas

    The lap times of WSBK are from QP1. We could see further improvement in Superpole, if the rain didn’t hit MMP.
    What are the laps from AMA from?
    Furthermore, a +2sec gap in motorcycle racing is a huge gap.

  • Loki

    @Chris – I may be wrong, but I don’t really see the lack of package performance being an issue, with Ducati superbikes often being criticized for their excessive “too hardcore for day-to-day” and “track loving manners”.

    And with the US probably being their prime market now, I don’t see why Ducati wouldn’t invest in motorsport there… I mean, I don’t see them injecting more money here in Europe, I can tell you that :)

  • Westward

    @ Loki

    All of Ducati’s effort are in MotoGP….

  • Trent

    This article needs to talk about the difference in tires. That is a huge factor.

  • Ted

    Thank you for the comparison. I watched all the races and the commentators (Scott Russell) did not mention anything about that lap time comparison between WSBK and AMA. Let’s give credit where credit is due: Mladin and Spies always won with a huge gaps in AMA. Which explains why he (Spies)did so well in WSBK. This proves that it all comes down to talent.

  • forget about the time differences … as one of the more astute poster above mentions, the bikes competing in WSBK are really in a league of their own, and AMA superbikes should really be compared to superstock fim cup 1000 bikes/lap times.

    also, @jensen: scott took WAY more interesting photos @ miller last week … the one selected for this article: not so much ;-)

    otherwise, great article … forza a&r!!!

  • Singletrack

    – 3.0 sec x 25 laps = lapper !