After public pressure from Althea Ducati and surely private pressure from Ducati Corse, the FIM has agreed to allow twin-cylinder motorcycles in World Superbike to have a 3kg lower minimum weight allowance. Effective at the Miller Motorsports Park round of WSBK, twins (essentially the Ducati’s) will be allowed a minimum weight of 165kg (363.7lbs), down from the previous 168kg minimum weight allowance. The mode of this change in rules comes about from how the rules were drafted, which allow for a continuous revision of basic components to the rules as the season goes forward. More on that after the jump.
In the WSBK rules, the FIM has created a simple formula that takes the two highest scoring bikes from one engine configuration (e.g. four-cylinder bikes), and the two top scoring bikes from another configuration (e.g. twin-cylinder bikes), and then measures the differences between the combined scores for each race. If the four-cylinders score an average of five points more per race in three races in a row, then the minimum weight restriction can be lowered. If changing the minimum weight does not make the twin-cylindered bikes more competitive, the rules further allow for the FIM to change the rules regarding the air restrictors.
World Superbike is now at the first threshold of these flexible rules, as this past weekend the four-cylinder bikes averaged a five point advantage over the twin-cylinders. Accordingly, the minimum weight for the twins has been dropped to 165kg, which is the first weight reduction the series will try. Should that not prove enough, we will likely see a minimum weight of 162kg imposed on the Ducati teams, before the air restriction plates are addressed.
Interestingly enough, none of the Ducati teams have been clamoring for a weight reduction, as few teams are believed to be running close to the minimum allowed weight. Shedding the excess pounds is an expensive endeavor, whereas increasing the air intake to the motors is a relatively easy task. Accordingly, teams have been pressuring for this modification to the rules, rather than the weight reductions, as the primary complaint is that the Ducati is down on power when compared to the four-cylinder bikes.
With the changed rules likely to have less of an affect as many Ducati teams would like, it still brings controversy around the WSBK series, which has long been accused of favoring Ducati’s technical needs to greatly. Is it more politics in racing, or further efforts for racing parity in World Superbike? Let us know in the comments.