WSBK Homologation Requirement Numbers Halved

02/22/2014 @ 2:52 pm, by David Emmett11 COMMENTS


The continuing worldwide decline in sports bike sales has forced the Superbike Commission to reduce the minimum number of motorcycles to be produced for homologation, to be allowed to take part in the World Superbike series.

As of now, manufacturers wishing to race a particular motorcycle must have sold 250 bikes by the end of their first year of racing in WSBK, and 1,000 bikes by the end of the second year, half the requirements previously on the books. But manufacturers will still have to have produced 125 bikes before they can even embark on the homologation procedure.

The sales numbers have been reduced in response to the continuing decline in sales of large and middleweight sports bikes around the world, under pressure from increasing speed restrictions and monitoring on public roads. Even Honda is reportedly having problems selling the required numbers of the CBR1000RR SP, despite the popularity of the bike.

The declining sports bike market is rumored to have persuaded Honda to shelve its V4 sports bike, which has already been postponed once. Smaller manufacturers have faced similar problems, with Aprilia struggling to sell the RSV4, despite the bike having won two world championships and consistently been a championship contender.

The decrease in minimum homologation numbers reverses the previous trend. The last change to homologation numbers was to increase it, to prevent manufacturers from producing so-called homologation specials, high price-tag bikes aimed purely at racing.

That move was said to have been aimed at reining in Ducati, in particular, which was producing ever more exotic versions of its superbike contender in very small quantities. As sports bike sales have stagnated, it is no longer commercially viable to produce such small-run specials, making it easier to reduce the minimum sales numbers.

The minimum quantity of 1,000 bikes is still thought to be too large for smaller, specialist builders to achieve. Italian builder Bimota has signed with the Francis Batta of Alstare to campaign the BMW-powered BB3 in World Superbikes, but even selling 1,000 bikes in two years could be beyond their reach.

Whether the Superbike Commission will find agreement on a solution for ‘micro-manufacturers’ like Bimota remains to be seen. This reduction was only passed by a majority vote, rather than unanimously. Which of the participants – teams, FIM, Dorna and the manufacturers – voted against the reduction is not known.

Below is the press release from the FIM announcing the new homologation numbers:

FIM Superbike World Championship

New homologation procedure

The FIM is pleased to announce that a new homologation procedure has been approved by a majority within the Superbike Commission.

It is a common intention to bring the homologation requirements in line with the current situation of the motorcycle industry and markets worldwide.

The major impact of the new regulation is related to the total required number of units to be produced:

  • The minimum number of units to start the homologation procedure will be 125.
  • At the end of the first year of participation, manufacturers will have to reach 250 units.
  • At the end of the second year of participation, manufacturers will have to reach 1000 units.

The Superbike Commission will follow closely the production plan of each manufacturer in order to control the minimum number of units produced as above and guarantee the fairness of competition.

The Superbike Commission are still considering further improvements to the new rules and discussions will be held in Phillip Island, Australia, during the first Round of the WSBK Championship (21-23 February).

A full description will be included inside the WSBK technical regulations 2014 that will be updated on the FIM website in the following days.

Source: FIM

This article was originally published on MotoMatters, and is republished here on Asphalt & Rubber with permission by the author.

  • Norm G.

    garcon, now that the performance is over, the fat lady requests a spot of tea and some welsh cakes brought to her dressing room. merci.

  • TexusTim

    well I dont get all this because honda waited to release the price of the sp in america till just this week and the bike isnt avialable till aprill so they pissed around waiting like the old days to drive intrest in the bike and you cant make plans for a season like that. why havnent we heard how bad sport bike sales before this ?

  • We’ve talked about it in a number of articles. Sport bike sales have been on the decline in Europe since before A&R was even started. This isn’t a new concept.

  • TexusTim

    well all I have heard is all the new models in india and china and how well some manufactors have done this last year in america. like ducatti and bmw haveing record years..remember ? so I still dont get it, if its that bad to make honda drop the v4 superbike ? this will really slow sales, even with the new sp version the cbr 1000 is due for a real model change or relaese the v4 model, killing it off makes no sense at all.

  • smiler

    Global recession
    Police with nothing else to do
    Biker Boyz making sports bikes unpopular and frowned upon.

    However it will help Bimots and that bunch who purchased all those Petronas bikes and repainted them could have a go.

    So WSBK will be binned. WSS continues and a new category of 250 four stoke racing starts?

  • Norm G.

    wait, something’s wrong. a fixed number even if it’s reduced by half…? STILL BLOWS.

    a 1,000 units…? a number like that can only help a bigger entity (i’ll let you guess who/whom). one thing’s for sure it damn sure doesn’t help the little guy…?!?!

    your honour, THIS JURY’S BEEN TAMPERED WITH…!!! (Jon Voight voice)

  • mattbnj

    Say it aint so Honda!

  • Chad D,

    At this point, they should really just open up the series to any small manufacturers. We need EBR and Bimota in the fray. We need to find a way for racing to appeal to more people though, because I don’t understand all the football fans wearing their teams jersey who have never even played the game. At least with motorcycling, you can buy a bike and ride at any age, and without any organized team. The excitement is there, especially for someone who doesn’t know right off who the top guns are. Just what is the sport lacking right now?

  • JS

    “…the continuing decline in sales of large and middleweight sports bikes around the world, under pressure from increasing speed restrictions and monitoring on public roads.”

    And the manufacturers have done little to nothing in fighting these ever increasing regulations and laws that aim to restrict motorcycle participation. See the ever more complicated licensing laws for the UK and europe and a scheme called Vision Zero which looks to ban motorcycling altogether to help achieve zero casualties on europes roads.

    Perhaps if the bike manufactures fought against the rules that look to restrict motorcycling take up and use sales of bikes would be better.

  • Jake F.

    “The sales numbers have been reduced in response to the continuing decline in sales of large and middleweight sports bikes around the world, under pressure from increasing speed restrictions and monitoring on public roads.”

    That’s an interesting claim. Do you have any data to support a connection?

    Might it be instead that consumer preferences have changed to favor other types of bikes that are more comfortable, practical, and versatile? There are a lot of great bikes on the market and the power of many of today’s dual-sports matches that of super bikes from not so long ago. If you can only have one bike, which decreasing levels of disposable income in the middle class makes more likely as income inequality continues to increase, why would you make that bike a sport bike?

    I submit the article author’s recent acquisition of a BMW GS as a prime example.

  • Jake, if I wanted to collate 10 years of European sales reports, yeah I do have the data. It’s not really a big secret though, European mags have been talking about it for quite some time.

    You can try and move correlation to causation any way you want, but market-level changes in taste take a long time. Meanwhile, serious changes in regulatory and insurance costs seem to punctuate the sales decline in their timeliness.