Redux: AMA Superbike vs. World Superbike at MMP

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Last year we combined the QP2 times from World Superbike with the Qualifying times from AMA Superbike, to see how America’s finest motorcycle racers stack up on against the international championship of a similar name. Of course there are different regulations in each series (not to mention a variety of other factors), which vary a bit on how teams are allowed to modify their race bikes, so there isn’t an exact comparison between the two series, but it makes for something interesting to mull over with your morning coffee, and the results this year may surprise you.

Before we dive into it, there are some notes on the table below, namely the use of WSBK’s QP2 times instead of those from Superpole. The biggest reasons for this is because the two sessions were on the same day, and roughly during the same time period, which with Miller’s variable weather this year was important to give a more accurate representation of things (we used the same sessions in last year’s article as well).

Looking at the results from last year, what is immediately obvious is that World Superbike is actually lapping a fraction slower than last year’s pace at the American round (a couple tenths of a second difference). Meanwhile, the pace in AMA Superbike is notably faster, which is evident by the number of AMA riders mixed in with the WSBK competitors. This contrasts nicely to last year’s results where, sans a few outliers, the mixed times could easily be drawn into two groups, on a purely series-related basis.

Once again, Josh Hayes is the fastest AMA rider in our analysis, but this time Josh slots in 12th with the WSBK pack, whereas last year he was 19th. Also showing the heightened pace in AMA Superbike, Blake Young makes a modest step up, but the inclusion of riders like Geoff May, Danny Eslick, and Roger Lee Hayden in the higher spots of the mixed grid show that its not just one or two riders stepping up the pace, but the AMA’s top teams overall.

With a couple AMA regulars wildcarding in the WSBK race (Jake Holden & Shane Turpin), some calibration can be made on our understanding of the differences between racing in the AMA and racing in World Superbike. We will let you argue that in the comments, but of note, only four of the AMA Superbike riders would have been cut by the FIM’s 107% qualification rule, meaning all the riders here are pretty damn fast.

Combined Results from AMA Superbike’s Qualifying Session and World Superbike’s Qualifying Practice 2 – Sunday May 27th, 2012

Pos. Rider Team Bike Time Diff.
1 Jakub Smrz Liberty Racing Team Effenbert Ducati 1098R 1’48.517
2 Carlos Checa Althea Racing Ducati 1098R 1’48.789 0.272
3 Marco Melandri BMW Motorrad Motorsport BMW S1000 RR 1’49.009 0.492
4 Sylvain Guintoli Team Effenbert Liberty Racing Ducati 1098R 1’49.079 0.562
5 Eugene Laverty Aprilia Racing Team Aprilia RSV4 Factory 1’49.175 0.658
6 Jonathan Rea Honda World Superbike Team Honda CBR1000RR 1’49.243 0.726
7 John Hopkins FIXI Crescent Suzuki Suzuki GSX-R1000 1’49.531 1.014
8 Max Biaggi Aprilia Racing Team Aprilia RSV4 Factory 1’49.584 1.067
9 Leon Haslam BMW Motorrad Motorsport BMW S1000 RR 1’49.634 1.117
10 Tom Sykes Kawasaki Racing Team Kawasaki ZX-10R 1’49.636 1.119
11 Michel Fabrizio BMW Motorrad Italia GoldBet BMW S1000 RR 1’49.654 1.137
12 Josh Hayes Monster Energy Graves Yamaha Yamaha R1 1’49.729 1.212
13 Chaz Davies ParkinGO MTC Racing Aprilia RSV4 Factory 1’49.968 1.451
14 Maxime Berger Team Effenbert Liberty Racing Ducati 1098R 1’49.980 1.463
15 Lorenzo Zanetti PATA Racing Team Ducati 1098R 1’50.014 1.497
16 Niccoló Canepa Red Devils Roma Ducati 1098R 1’50.031 1.514
17 Blake Young Yoshimura Racing Suzuki GSX-R1000 1’50.141 1.624
18 Geoff May Team Amsoil/Hero EBR 1190RS 1’50.219 1.702
19 Davide Giugliano Althea Racing Ducati 1098R 1’50.280 1.763
20 Danny Eslick Team Hero EBR 1190RS 1’50.355 1.838
21 Roger Hayden National Guard Jordan Suzuki Suzuki GSX-R1000 1’50.358 1.841
22 Loris Baz Kawasaki Racing Team Kawasaki ZX-10R 1’50.424 1.907
23 Ayrton Badovini BMW Motorrad Italia GoldBet BMW S1000 RR 1’50.427 1.910
24 David Salom Team Pedercini Kawasaki ZX-10R 1’50.504 1.987
25 Ben Bostrom Jordan Suzuki Suzuki GSX-R1000 1’50.511 1.994
26 Leon Camier FIXI Crescent Suzuki Suzuki GSX-R1000 1’50.520 2.003
27 Josh Herrin Monster Energy Graves Yamaha Yamaha R1 1’50.676 2.159
28 Hiroshi Aoyama Honda World Superbike Team Honda CBR1000RR 1’50.963 2.446
29 Chris Clark Yoshimura Racing Suzuki GSX-R1000 1’51.177 2.660
30 Larry Pegram Foremost Insurance/Pegram Racing BMW S1000RR 1’51.547 3.030
31 Steve Rapp Attack Performance Kawasaki ZX-10 1’51.796 3.279
32 Leandro Mercado Team Pedercini Kawasaki ZX-10R 1’51.843 3.326
33 David Anthony Suzuki GSX-R1000 1’51.996 3.479
34 Jake Holden Grillini Progea Superbike Team BMW S1000 RR 1’52.108 3.591
35 Robertino Pietri Team Venezuela Suzuki GSX-R1000 1’52.290 3.773
36 Taylor Knapp BMW BMW S1000RR 1’52.565 4.048
37 Chris Fillmore KTM/HMC Racing KTM RC8R 1’52.587 4.070
38 Chris Ulrich M4 Lucas Oil Suzuki Suzuki GSX-R1000 1’53.397 4.880
39 Shane Turpin Boulder Motor Sports Ducati 1098R 1’54.399 5.882
40 Jordan Burgess Suzuki GSX-R1000 1’55.174 6.657
World Superbike 107% Qualifying Cut Off
41 Reno Karimian Team Air Kawasaki ZX-10 1’56.743 8.226
42 Trent Gibson Seven Sports Suzuki GSX-R1000 1’57.116 8.599
43 Chris Siglin FastLine… BMW S1000RR 1’57.421 8.904
44 Tony Porter EDR Kawasaki ZX-10 2’00.372 11.855

Source: AMA Pro Racing & WSBK; Photo: © 2012 Rick Grayston – All Rights Reserved