With MotoGP adopting a CRT rule for the 2012 season, a provision that allows production motors to be used in a prototype chassis, the World Superbike Championship has been feeling its production-racing turf a bit infringed upon. Now whether or not the latest rule change from WSBK has anything to with what is going on between the two series is up for debate, but regardless for 2013 and onward, World Superbike teams will have to run faux-headlight decals on their race bikes — in some sort of attempt to link what is on the track to what is sitting on dealership showroom floors.

First to adopt the rule is the factory Kawasaki Racing Team, which has added the headlight decals to the Kawasaki Ninja ZX-10R race bikes that are being ridden by Tom Sykes and Loris Baz this weekend at Aragon, Spain. In addition to the headlight sticker rule, teams will have to run 17″ wheels starting in 2013, which is being pitched as a cost-savings measure, but is more likely grounded in the idea of further making the illusion that what is raced in WSBK is somehow remotely linked to what motorcyclists purchase.

Source: Kawasaki Racing

  • Bob

    ” In addition to the headlight sticker rule, teams will have to run 17″ wheels starting in 2013, which is being pitched as a cost-savings measure, but is more likely grounded in the idea of further making the illusion that what is raced in WSBK is somehow remotely linked to what motorcyclists purchase.”

    The tire manufacturers are gradually discontinuing 16.5″ tires across the board. It’s not a decision that was solely made by World Superbike. It IS a cost saving measure, but the most money that will be saved is at the manufacturers level.

  • Steve Lang

    Great marketing idea with the headlight decals. Smart.

  • Nick

    The NASCAR of motorcycle racing? –

    That did the trick! Now I can totally see the relation between the bike in my garage and the one on TV, thank you so much for tracing that parallel for me! Before they added the genius headlight stickers I was under the impression that these were race bikes, i.e. heavily modified versions of production bikes, oh hang on, that’s what they are.

    When are they going to add the faux turn signals etc? And these WSB bikes have these “sponsor” stickers on their bikes too, so confusing seeing as how my road bike doesn’t have any maybe they should ban those too and just go solid factory colors. Thanks for making racing ugly.

  • jake

    completely stupid. people who care know and those that don’t know don’t really care. a yamaha fan is a yamaha fan. this maintaining connect to production is stupid. Ducati fans didn’t abandon Ducati in MotoGP because they didn’t race a twin. this is just more stupid marketing people who don’t have a clue what really matters to the fans of the sport. It’s like all these editorials about how to make bike racing bigger in the states. they point to Daytona and the missed opportunity there. the problem is simple. that daytona crowd isn’t interested in racing. period. dumbing down the sport isn’t going to change that. the best they can do is put on good races and then let the audience come to the sport. if it gets to F1 or NASCAR levels great. but if it doesn’t then work with the market that you have. the problem is MotoGP, SBK, MX and even F1 (in the US) aren’t doing that. they keep looking at NASCAR and saying why can’t we have that? Why dumb down F1 to NASCAR?

    This down rule plus the potential of pit stops will be the reason I stop watching SBK just like the shootout format killed my interest in British Superbikes and CRT is quickly killing MotoGP for me. Just provide good competitive racing and leave the gimmicks out. It’s cool to know my bike is raced in SBK, but there is nothing kool or special about knowing my EXACT bike is raced in SBK. It’s supposed to be the best of the best and it’s heading in the opposite direction

  • Dr. Gellar

    Hhahahahahahaaha!! Are you serious?!?! Faux-headlight stickers?? Pathetic.

  • SV

    If WSBK wants to make a stronger connection with the streetbikes that these machines are based off, why don’t they just, you know, MAKE them that way? My god, I think WSBK has been encroaching on prototype territory loooooong before MotoGP came to theirs. They make me disappoint…

  • “somehow remotely linked to what motorcyclists purchase”

    lol. shenanigans

  • Jason

    “… I think WSBK has been encroaching on prototype territory loooooong before MotoGP came to theirs.”
    No kidding! WSBK has been nowhere near production for quite some time now. This is where they DO parallel “stock” car racing: by having nothing Stock on the bike, except for maybe those headlights (stickers)

  • Damo

    These changes wont effect the quality of the racing at all so, no worries from me.

  • SBPilot

    Not sure why the negativity toward the headlights. Yes Nascar uses them and I’m quite sure Nascar is more popular than WSBK for a reason and why manufactures dump so much money in it. Of course the connection works for the public. Ford loyal fans vs Chevy loyal fans vs Toyota. Why would they even bother sculpting the shell of their race cars in the shape of their production car if it didn’t make any difference. The car is a just a tube frame they could put any thing on top. The reason is because it makes a bloody difference. Same can be said for Touring Cars. They don’t use faux lights, but they keep the model badging on the cars. Why? Same reason. Why do Funny Cars use bodys resembling production cars? Cause it makes a difference. It’s marketing. It works. These small things like headlights draws much more connection to the public and the bike they are riding or about to buy. Most of marketing is subliminal and there are trillions in subliminal marketing cause it works.

    I dont’ know why Jensen you are so negative about the idea stating things like “somehow remotely linked to what motorcyclist purchase”. Things like these (faux stickers) do make a difference to the general public and to new riders and newcomers to the two wheel world. It does help them make a connection. And fact of the matter is, WSBK bikes aren’t THAT far off production bikes. The best Superbikes raced in AMA and even Canada Superbike are really not that far off the WSBK bikes. That fact paired with the fact that the bikes being built for AMA/CSBK are just off the shelf means there is that connection. Sure, WSBK engines go under the knife and get major upgrades and the electronics are another level, but the rest really isn’t that different and those two things don’t matter because you don’t see them.

    The goal is to help motorcycle racing and the motorcycle world still afloat, being negative about an idea that will certainly help the image of WSBK doesn’t do any good. I for one am all for the stickers (what are people saying the Endurance bikes look like shiet cause of the headlights? last time I checked people were oogling over the Honda Legend endurance bike, it sure looks 100x better than the WSBK one) and like Damo said, it doesn’t effect the quality of racing.


    Oh so my old R6 is really a racing machine!!!! Oh wait…I know better. I may as well take my HOG out to the track and tell everyone it’s a crotch rocket.

    (Jensen we aren’t mad at you)

    Superbikes are really more like Le Mans GT racers. Sure they ‘look’ similar but that is were it ends my friends. If we had WSB’s we be taking second and third mortgages out on our already underwater homes.

  • Damo

    Seriously if you guys are really getting that spun up about headlight stickers and 17″ wheels, you need to get your priorities straight.

    SBPilot, has it 100% correct. It is all about the marketing.

    I seriously don’t understand how anyone can be f*cking angry about the stickers!

  • rob

    I suppose if it brings more money and therefore competition to the sport, I’m all for it. But the coolest thing about “racing machines” is that they don’t have any thing ‘NOT NEEDED TO GO FAST’. The first pointless thing to have is lights. Leave headlights to the endurance guys who actually USE them for light output.

  • Westward

    It’s a sticker and it’s harmless. No harm, no foul. It actually looks good on the Kawasaki. As long as the wheels go round and people are happy, and it helps the cause, then I’m all for it…

  • David

    So much hate for the stickers, they are a good cheap idea to potentially draw and connect certain motorcycles to truly racing machines. Even if it doesn’t it doesn’t affect the racing so stop your complaining. It’s a good idea.

  • Grant Madden

    What,no mirrors or indicators?My street bike has mirrors and indicators.and a number plate and a regostickers.Years ago I used to race production bikes which were nothing but your street bike(OK maybe not your street bike but it looks like one)put on a race track.The first thing to go is the headlight, tail light ,mirrors and indicators.Thats how you knew it was a racebike.For some stupid mindless reason the powers that be decided that super sport and superbikes were better even though they were just distant hotted up relatives of the street bikes,supposedly so that the public would enjoy the racing more.So now they,ve changed their minds(Minds.really?)and the more they look like street bikes the better.
    I think this is called grasping at straws.The sad thing is that it will probably make no difference to the spectators who will remain pretty well informed and crictical spectators,more interested in the personalities and manufactures than stickers and sad wannabe a street bike looks.
    I would suggest that knowing more about the riders and teams would creat a more personally interesting sport.People are attracted by the personalities of Rossi,Stoner,Lorenzo, Pedrosa and Crutchlow in MotoGP or Biaggi ,Checa,Sykes,Johnny Rea,and friends in the superbikes and their battles on and off the track.National pride,thats what gets the interest going.Personal conflict and characters we can relate to ,not stickers that look like head lights.
    Oh well,they might as well try this or maybe lucky cat stickers?LUCKY CATS,everyone loves lucky cats,No?Good luck is all I can say and later when statistics(Lies,dam lies and statistics)show no change occured will the junior exec who came up with this be sacked?Na probably not.He,ll just come up with some more crap to justify his wage/salary agreement.

  • @MotoMuzzey

    Can the teams charge WSB for the stickers? If a vendor wants a sticker on a bike it will cost them money. This move could prohibit teams from making money.

    Vendor: i want to put a big company sticker up front, here is a sack of cash.
    Team : we can’t do that we need to put headlight stickers up there.
    Vendor: F*** it never mind then.

    Just kidding
    i don’t care. i don’t see this as a huge story. but fun to read.

  • Grant Madden

    Watched the World superbikes last night.Tom Sykes has already got the faux headlight stickers on his Kawasaki.I had to look long and hard to see them and was only looking because I suspected that he did have them on.If I hadn,t been told I never would have noticed and really it does not make it look like a proddy bike at 200kph+.How am I supposed to take it serious?Maybe in photos but when they are racing it is invisible.Ok on promo posters I suppose but when they are racing I challenge anyone watching live racing at the track to be able to tell those stickers from any other sponsors stickers.And yes,will they be compensated for the loss of space to put paying sponsors stickers on?Cant see it happening at all.Thats valuable sponsor space.Check out other bikes and they all have sponsors names or logos on those areas of the fairing.Do you think anybody will listen to us complain.Na not a hope so ok its just another useless peice of crap that will sooner or later be seen for what it really is.A load of old bollocks.

  • Jim

    Just a sticker and it does look pretty good. The real question is “Will teams now add a “headlight sticker guy” in the paddock?

  • Gutterslob

    First glimpse of this was on John McGuinness’ superbike at the TT this year. Not a fan of the look/idea, to be frank. Made it look like he won the TT on his way to the pub.