“Supersport 300” Class Added to WSBK Championship

09/27/2016 @ 11:55 pm, by David Emmett52 COMMENTS

2014-KTM-RC390-white-02

The FIM and Dorna have agreed on a new entry class for the World Superbike championship. A Supersport 300 series has been created to house the burgeoning market of lightweight sports machines, such as the Yamaha YZF-R3 and the KTM RC390.

The concept for the class came about after consultation with manufacturers. Motorcycle manufacturers have seen sales of 600cc supersports bikes plummeting, while sales of lightweight machines have been booming.

More and more manufacturers have been entering the class, though each with slightly different machines and different engine capacities.

That presents the series with its first major challenge: balancing different motorcycle concepts against one another, while still ensuring that racing remains affordable.

For 2017, four machines have been homologated: the Yamaha YZF-R3, the KTM RC390, the Honda CBR500R (previously raced in the European Junior Cup) and the Kawasaki Ninja 300, one of the first bikes to be launched in the segment.

Performance balancing the concepts will initially be done via minimum weights and maximum revs, with adjustments made by agreement in the Superbike Commission, the governing body of the series.

In keeping with previous performance balancing concepts, such a decision is only likely to be taken if one bike is either obviously dominating or lagging severely behind.

The bikes to be raced must remain very close to stock. The engines and frames must remain virtually unaltered, with only the removal of secondary throttle valves permitted.

Electronics must be either the stock kit fitted, or a separate, homologated race kit from the manufacturer, or a Dorna-provided special Supersport kit.

Datalogging is severely limited, as are changes to the suspension. Exhaust may be changed, but must retain the same number of silencers in the same position as on the road bike.

“This new platform will be the perfect environment for developing future talent,” said Vito Ippolito, President of FIM.

“The intention of WorldSSP 300 is to create a benchmark for National Championships to follow. We want to offer an environment that is regulated and relatively equal in which future talent can grow, and where manufacturers can accompany young riders as they take their first steps towards stardom.”

“The focus is to have an affordable Series for these young competitors,” added Javier Alonso, WorldSBK Executive Director.

“There has been great interest for low-capacity motorcycles in this sport and the new WorldSSP 300 class strives to offer that. It will be promoted by Manufacturers as an easily accessible championship, the best possible platform to grow future stars where Manufacturers can accompany riders from an early age and as they progress through their career.”

A full list of the provisional Technical Regulations for the WorldSSP 300 Championship can be found here.

Source: FIM; Photo KTM

  • Ralf

    At least the front master cylinder should be allowed to change.

  • madchilli

    Hopefully it’ll brighten up WSBK because it badly needs it.

  • Ralf

    Probably not. 300cc racing is a promoted series and requires support by the industry. It’s not very thrilling to watch.

  • Jonn Dol

    While the the bikes are slower than the 600cc Supersport, with the right performance balancing, the racing should be ultra close fender-banging stuffs we’ve always seen in Moto3 with the added bonus of variety of machines competing (Twin & Single Cylinders). Performance advantage-wise, I think the Honda CBR500R is considered too big for the class (I was thinking this should be a sub-400cc class). Maybe Honda will launch the 300cc version of the latest CBR 250RR in the near future which is more suited for the class. And where’s the Benelli Tornado 302?? Dorna should consider to include this bike as well!

  • Alam Rahman

    Well moto3 is thrilling to watch and I can think this series will be thrilling if the racing is close enough. I can imagine seeing a load of youngsters spilling through long sweeping turns elbox down at maximum attack! I am all for it.

  • Barry Rothwell Taylor

    What Honda wants , Honda gets .
    Honda isn’t winning Supersport so … just like 250cc & 125cc .
    The FIA taking over WSBK was a mistake , letting DORNA run it a bigger one – they only care about the money , hence the Saturday race change and now this .

  • Alam Rahman

    I am really please to hear this news and for one am excited by it. If the balance of the bikes can be equalised and the competition kept tight then we are in for a an exciting series.
    I hope they allow the bikes to be pared down to keep as much weight off as possible.
    This is fantastic news and allows a multitude of manufacturers to expose their bikes. We may see the Big Japanese four, European and even Korean and Indian manufacturers enter bikes in these classes.
    I would love to see this class filter down to domestic series and also.
    Great news and hugely relevant!
    It would be a great PR stunt if the manufacturers could arrange a time event where the WSBK stars are each given a bike to make a laptime. It would be awesome to watch!

  • Kenny

    Eagerly awaiting homologation specials!

  • SKD007

    Moto3 bikes are not the same as road bikes.. so it won’t be That good… but this will force manufactures to up their game when it come to sub super sport bikes.. especially companies like honda.

  • SKD007

    But then 390 KTM will have too much torque and should be eliminated as well. Either KTM should produce a proper RC with 300cc engine or use RC200 with a over sized bore

  • Ralf

    Stock 300 has nothing in common with Moto3 GP. To expect fierce racing action for the spectators on the grandstands (not only for the racers themselves) is a hopelessly romantic idea. In reality, they go for a beer and french fries (which is not bad, however).

  • BBQdog

    The CBR500R is a big mismatch in this class. In an other article I read they will only race in Europe in the beginning which I think is a big mistake because the bikes mentioned above are very popular in Asian countries. Hope the add some Asian riders.

  • BBQdog

    No sir. KTM was first. So Japan should make 390cc’s !!
    (constructive discussion ??)

  • MM

    The CBR500 has a lower power-to-weight ratio than the RC390

  • coreyvwc

    The article above does not mention anything about the actual class rules. Most importantly being the mandatory minimum weights for the bikes. Per the rulebook, the minimum weight for the CBR500 is 330 pounds, while the minimum weight for the RC390 is 300 pounds, and the ninja & R3 fall in the middle. So there will be a big weight penalty for using the higher cc Honda. Not to mention the racebikes will be nearly bone stock… Huge advantage for KTM.

  • coreyvwc

    I love the idea, but I’m not sure why they are calling it a supersport class. If you read the rules and regs this is clearly going to be SuperStock racing in its most simple form.

  • BBQdog

    I expect fierce racing. Please have a look on YouTube at Asian series where they use similar bikes.

  • CBR Sean

    Honda factory is barely involved in WSBK.

  • durandal1

    Have you seen the Asian cups where they race scooters? It’s freakin’ brilliant racing!

  • spamtasticus

    I have raced a 200hp BMW 1000 for six years and it is a ton of fun and action but to this day, the most fun, exciting, and thrillingly competitive road race I have ever taken part in was a ninja 250 class where this 100 lbs russian beauty was making me work harder for every millimeter of track than I have ever worked before. It was the most fun I have ever had on a street bike (thank you Tony for the Badger Badger ninja). As a direct result, I plan to buy a KTM 390 Cup as my primary racebike for next season and my BMW will continue to be raced in just one class as I still love riding an ICBM from time to time.

  • GregS

    Yup – little bikes are incredibly fun and much cheaper to run.

  • GregS

    Well hopefully this will bring up track attendance at WSBK events. When I watch these on TV I can’t help but notice most of the stands are completely empty.

  • Sam Miller

    Not to mention the CBR500 motor is an absolute turd at its stock compression ratio. Its 10,500 rev limit for the class really doesn’t matter much since peak power is probably well before that anyway.

  • Brett Lewis

    The last KTM 390 Cup race I watched was very interesting, and exciting. KTM brings youngsters with various racing backgrounds from places around the world to race at the MotoAmerica events.

  • Frick
  • MikeD

    Xactly my thoughts, then why has the CBR500 been homologated ?
    What are we missing ?
    Is the CBR300 such a weak steamy pile of bull manure when it comes to being competitive with the other “300’s” ?

  • paulus

    Kind of smart Honda adding the CBR500. The sales have sucked… this might improve things. Secondly, if they went in with the current CBR300, which is also homologated for Euro racing, they might find it harder to justify change when the new CBR 250/300 hits in the near future.

  • coreyvwc

    In short, yes.

  • TwoWheelLoo

    A return to 250-300cc four cyclinders??!!! Yes please!

  • Jd

    more more more just throw everything at moto-sport the more the better, flood it already we need to find yankee aliens. I would like to see moto on my local broadcast stations. Lets do this.

  • Renato Valenzuela

    The Asia Road Racing AP250 class would prove otherwise. Virtually the same hardware WSS300 is proposing, appearing at FIM tracks like Sepang, Qatar and Motegi, It’s as white-knuckled wheel-to-wheel as Moto3. They’re full races on YouTube.

  • Szk

    Hint: with the CBR600RR and Daytona 675 discontinued because of Euro4, the ZX-6R still going with its´ 599 cc 2012 model, even if Yamaha comes up with a new model for 2017, current 600 cc Supersport class is at serious risk of obsolescence.

  • Szk

    On the top class yes, but Honda has been totally involved with the EJC for many years, and it seems likely that this new, open class will replace the CBR500R-only EJC from 2017 on.

  • SKD007

    lol that’s funny.. you want all the manufacturers to release single cylinder 390 just because KTM converted a cycle to moterbike ? I don’t think that’s a good idea. If KTM can copy RCV for Motogp. Why can’t they do something again ? It’s easy for them right

  • ‘Mike Smith

    It doesn’t help that Kawasaki has dominated for the last few years. Don’t get me wrong, I enjoy watching, but it’s usually about who’s coming in third because we know Rea and Sykes are taking 1st and 2nd.

  • GregS

    Valid point!

  • Statement Plus

    You’re the funny one. KTM copied Honda? Please tell me what Honda GP bike has used or ever used a steel trellis frame. Please tell me what Honda use WP suspension. What is KTM copying from honda, oh, you mean the air intake design, yea, that’s all that defines a bike apparently.

  • SKD007

    Air intake and 90dig v4.. and overall bike looks RCV. WP suspension?? Steel frame ?? Why would Honda copy junk ? Do you think KTM stands a chance with wp and frame ?

  • Ralf

    Just to get it right. The question was: Can the new 300cc stock series solve the WorldSBK’s problems? And again: I don’t think so. There might be some more visitors in Thailand and Malaysia, but what about Europe, USA and Australia? The WorldSBK needs more personality and characters. Crazy Japanese, lazy Aussies, cool Americans, awkward Italians. And of course stunning race bikes. But that’s another discussion …

  • BBQdog

    No thanks. Those parallel twins build already way too heavy ….

  • BBQdog

    Then Brad Binder should have never raced Moto3, too light !

  • durandal1

    It’s a slipper slope, and they have to draw the line somewhere. And the fact is, for the purposes of cheap racing, new pads and steel brake lines take you 80% there.

  • Statement Plus

    Ohhhhhhhhhh you meant air intake AND 90dig V4. Phew good thing you clarified. In that case yes KTM copied Honda totally, 100% copy, right down to the last bolt. Shame on them, phew, thanks again for pointing that out. Make sure you tell everyone, send KTM and Honda an email too you will do them a favour.

  • MikeD

    LOL but wait……..they could always homologate that new fancy 250 Jensen posted here not long ago. That HAS TO BE better(competitive) ? !

  • SKD007

    Ya sure and will keep you in Cc lol.. so which year do expect KTM to win Motogp Championship ??

  • Kenny

    All of the current batch of small capacity sports bikes are overweight pigs bar maybe the KTM
    The CBR500 is especially bad. Hopefully a international racing class would encourage lighter weight and better suspension.

  • coreyvwc

    The new parallel twin cbr 250rr would definitely be an improvement over the single cylinder cbr 300. However at only 250cc it still wouldn’t be competitive with the 300cc ninja or the 320cc R3. Honda is just so far behind everyone else.

  • SKD007

    Sorry I missed your question about trellis frame.. for your info… during early biking years.. most of the bikes had trellis frame. The famous VT250 and even CBR250R uses it. They don’t use it on Motogp bikes as they learned its limitations as no 2 frames will act the same. KTM says they can provide but still unproven. We will soon see their bike in Motogp next year and then we can start this very discussion. They already have a failed attempt with their RC8 in SBK. companies like Ducati tried such frames and even carbonfiber and failed.

  • Statement Plus

    The fact you are even mentioning road bikes in a GP discussion makes all your points redundant and shows you are unable to add any constructive input. You’re actually providing quite the laugh though, comparing a VT250 and a CBR250R trellis frame to a MotoGP trellis frame. Just, too, funny.

  • SKD007

    You need to dig deep.. Do you even realize Honda, Yamaha, mvagusta all had used trellis frame since early 50s & 60s in Motogp ? Later they all moved out as they reached limitations with Trellis frame. KTM has not yet reached that state of R&D as Yamaha or Honda to understand the issues with that particular tech.. even Ducati realised and moved to aluminum alloy boxer type frames.

  • Manny Fresh

    The swingarm on the KTM RC16 looks eerily similar to the Honda RC213V as well as the exhuast system configuration. As SKD007 pointed out, the V4 engine is the same basic configuration (degrees, bore, stroke) and the air intake (which is not just the inlet on the upper fairing but also the ducting to the airbox). We are not the only ones that think so, as even Jensen Beeler noted so in his article: http://www.asphaltandrubber.com/bikes/ktm-rc16-photo-gallery/

    Maybe the fact that Mike Leitner, Dani Pedrosa’s ex-Crew Chief, left Repsol Honda to help KTM start their MotoGP project has something to do with all the similarities.

    As the old adage goes imitation is the sincerest form of flattery. However in this day and age of patent lawsuits, one must at least make some significant changes to not be called a blantant rip-off, as KTM has done here. Let’s just say their RC16 is RC213V “inspired”…

  • KevinB

    390 with rotor, line, pads still gets terrible brake fade