The Superbike Commission, governing body for the World Superbike Championship, met at Madrid to introduce a number of changes to the rules for the World Superbike and World Supersport series for 2017. There were some minor changes to the sporting regulations, as well as a couple of tweaks to the technical regulations. But there were also two major changes which will have a significant impact for next season and beyond. The biggest change is also the most surprising and the least comprehensible. There is to be a major shake up in the way the grid for the second World Superbike race is set.
There will be only 23 bikes on the MotoGP grid in 2017. The FIM today officially announced that the 24th grid slot has been officially withdrawn, after manufacturers could not pledge to supply additional equipment.
There was plenty of interest in the grid slot. Five teams expressed an interest, and three teams submitted an official application for the 24th grid slot. Those teams are believed to have included Pons, LCR, and Ajo – all of whom had previously admitted publicly that they were keen to move up to MotoGP.
With the start of the 2015 MotoGP Season right around the corner, we have some more changes to the official regulations that govern MotoGP.
Some changes have been talked about for quite a while, such as that when a rider comes in to swap bikes during a flag-to-flag race, the waiting bike must be closer to the track than to the pit box; lower bodywork on the bikes must be designed to catch oil and other fluids that might leak (Moto2 and MotoGP bikes must be able to catch five liters of fluids, Moto3 bikes three and a half liters); and so on.
But some other items have been added to the rules that haven’t received much attention. Why am I thinking about all of this? Something just caught my eye that will directly affect my work as a photographer on the grid.
When we talk about shrinking grid sizes, it is usually MotoGP that gets the bulk of our scrutiny; however, some concern is starting to be generated over how large the field will be for the World Superbike Championship next season.
While there were 23 bikes on the starting grid at Phillip Island in 2012, for 2013 that number could well be 19 or less at the season-opener. While there are a number of factors for the smaller grid, it is no small coincidence that WSBK is short the same number of bikes that Effenbert Liberty Racing fielded last season.
MotoGP has just announced that six new teams will be inducted into the premier motorcycle racing series come the 2012 season. Recieving more bids than there was room for, Dorna’s list of new entries is entirely comprised of teams who currently campaign in the Moto2 or 125 GP Championships, which is less surprising than it seems since these teams already have the resources and logistics to do the globetrotting that MotoGP requires, not to mention the economies of scale.
Also, the participation of these teams in the lower classes serves as a vetting process to ensure that only quality race efforts enter MotoGP. Conversely, it’s in the best interest of Dorna to create a ladder program within the three Championships, so participating teams can groom young talent all the way from Moto3, through Moto2, and into the premier class. Find the list of the six new
Moto1 MotoGP teams after the jump.