World Superbike Favoring Four Cylinders Over Two?

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If you take a look through our coverage of World Superbike’s stop in Assen this weekend, you’ll notice a trend in the standings on how riders finished in relation to what type of equipment they ran in the race. The trend seems to suggest an advantage for the inline-four cylinder bikes, and didn’t go unnoticed by Carlos Checa, who found himself struggling to compete with the four cylindered machines this weekend on his twin cylindered Ducati.

As one of the privateer Ducati’s on the grid, Checa and the Althea Ducati team believe the current WSBK rules hinder the twins in being competitive with the focus in both acceleration and top speed. You make the call after the jump.

Echoing the belief that twins in WSBK (basically the privateer Ducatis), are not evenly paired with the inline/V fours of the Japanese and Europeans, Checa said that “unfortunately there was an obvious difference in acceleration between us and the four cylinders and we weren’t 100% there with regard to the rideability of the bike,” explained the rider after the conclusion of Race 2 at Assen. “Anyway the overall balance was not bad when you look at my results. We have a good package but we are lacking acceleration and speed compared to the four cylinders. I couldn’t do more than I did but I’m still fourth in the standings, in what will be a long championship.”

That’s a fairly modest description, but Althea Ducati boss Genesio Bevilacqua took things further though and saying that “today we saw the difference in speed between us and the four cylinders. I believe that with the current regulations it is almost impossible to do more with regard to acceleration and, above all, with regard to top speed. The rules penalise the twins.”

The data would seem to support Althea Ducati in some respects, as the top speeds from Assen show a strong skewing of four cylinder machines on the maximum speed listings. This theory of course is partially debunked by the factory Ducatis, which rank 3rd and 4th in the top speeds seen at Assen, and let us also not forget Althea Ducati’s win at the WSBK season opener at Phillip Island.

While the common wisdom has been that twins exchange top-end horsepower for tractability and low-end torque, the races to-date may suggest that this trade-off is an even bet, as Ducati’s have been seen running up front on more than one occasion, and top-speed is not an end-all predictor of race outcomes.

With evidence supporting both sides of the argument as to who has the upper hand (let’s not forget who finished 2nd and 3rd in last year’s World Superbike Championship), this debate would seem to close for A&R to call. So we’ll leave further debate for the comments section below. Have at it.

Top Recorded Speeds from World Superbike at Assen, Netherlands:

1. 289 km/h – Max Biaggi (Aprilia), Sylvain Guintoli (Suzuki).
2. 288 km/h – Cal Crutchlow (Yamaha)
3. 286 km/h – Jonathan Rea (Honda), Leon Haslam (Suzuki), Leon Camier (Aprilia), Michel Fabrizio (Ducati), James Toseland (Yamaha),
4. 285 km/h – Troy Corser (BMW), Noriyuki Haga (Ducati)
5. 284 km/h – Tom Sykes (Kawasaki), Max Neukirchner (Honda)
6. 282 km/h – Jakub Smrz (Ducati), Shane Byrne (Ducati), Lorenzo Lanzi (Ducati), Chris Vermeulen (Kawasaki)
7. 281 km/h – Carlos Checa (Ducati)
8. 279 km/h – Ruben Xaus (BMW), Broc Parkes (Honda)
9. 278 km/h – Luca Scassa (Ducati)
10. 275 km/h – Matteo Baiocco (Kawasaki)
11. 273 km/h – Roger Lee Hayden (Kawasaki)