Reliable sources are perpetuating the rumor that World Superbike is considering moving to a single-bike rule for its riders, presumably meaning that a WSBK rider would only have a single racing motorcycle at each race and session at a World Superbike round. The rule would be an extension of the already existing provision in World Supersport racing, which has seen a surge of participants this past year, compared to World Superbike’s shrinking numbers (though WSBK still has more riders competing than MotoGP at this point).
The idea is that the new provision, presumably to come out for the 2012 season, would allow teams to cut costs by up to €300,000, or run the option of having larger or multiple teams, which in-turn would increase grid sizes and jobs for ride-less racers.
The devil is in the details of course, as reducing the number of bikes a team can have teched at a race does not necessarily mean that costs will be lowered. Teams with larger budgets will surely still bring several bikes to a race weekend, leaving the spare motorcycle(s) in-waiting should a crash or mechanical issue occur, and then tech in the new bike once the original has been deemed out for the weekend. Also, the rule at this stage makes no provision for spare parts, so teams may still spend the same amount of money on an adequate supply of parts as they would on a complete backup race motorcycle.
The Superbike Commission will be meeting again after the upcoming Silverstone round on July 31st, and many are expecting an announcement to follow at that round of the WSBK Championship regarding this alleged provision for the 2012 season. Whether the rule will reduce costs as hoped, well…time will tell on that one.