The World Superbike racing season is rapidly approaching with its season-opener at Phillip Island on February 23rd, and with a bevy of OEMs set to enter World Superbike, the FIM has made house calls to make sure that the OEMs have met their first production volume requirements for homologation.
With MV Agusta’s volumes of the F4 not at issue, the crux of the FIM’s work centered around Erik Buell Racing and Bimota. Confirming that Erik Buell Racing has met its 125 unit obligation, before the first WSBK race, the FIM however could not say the same about Bimota.
Bimota’s inability to produce the requisite 125 units of the Bimota BB3 is perhaps unsurprising, as the boutique Italian brand has only recently been acquired, and the new superbike model was just unveiled at the 2013 EICMA show. Despite the World Superbike’s announcement that the FIM would bend the rules regarding homologation, it would be seem that is not the case.
This does not mean the Bimota’s partnership with Alstare is for not, as Bimota could still produce the necessary volumes for World Superbike competition, and enter the championship at a later date this season.
Such a reality would certainly be a good move for all parties involved, but especially so for riders Ayrton Badovini and Christian Iddon, who are faced with sitting out the 2014 season otherwise.
As for Erik Buell Racing, the news is less surprising. The 125 unit figure for the EBR 1190RX was perhaps the easiest barrier for the American company to overcome, as the future volume requirements will necessitate nearly three times as many bikes built per day (500 units by June 30th & 1,000 units by December 31st).
With Hero MotoCorp now heavily invested in Erik Buell Racing, the Team Hero Erik Buell Racing squad should be a permanent fixture in the WSBK paddock, though there should still be some busy days and nights in East Troy for the EBR team to keep its homologation status.
With 2014 likely to be a development season for EBR, we aren’t expecting too much from Geoff May and Aaron Yates at Phillip Island, though the Australian track has proven itself to be a happy hunting ground for big-bore v-twins, which could make for some excitement.
Win, lose, or draw, we are just happy to see and American brand and American riders in the premier production racing class for motorcycles. Be sure to tune in for the races.