After Alvaro Bautista’s runaway success since joining the WorldSBK series, winning all six main races and all three Superpole races, mostly by a significant margin, the FIM has made the first move toward balancing out performance.
Starting from the next round at Assen, the Ducati Panigale V4R is to lose 250 revs, while the Honda CBR1000RR, which has struggled badly since the start of the year, is to given an extra 500 revs on the maximum rev limit.
This is not the only step taken to limit the advantage which the Ducati has. Because Bautista has won every race so far, Ducati will also not be allowed to bring any engine performance upgrades, the so-called concession parts, which includes items such as cylinder heads, air intake funnels, etc.
The Panigale V4R will have to compete in the state of tune they started the season.
The same applies to Kawasaki. As Jonathan Rea finished every race in second place, the ZX-10RR will also not be allowed any updates through the 2019 season.
All other manufacturers – Honda, Yamaha, BMW – will be allowed to bring one set of updates at some point during the season. This also applies to the brands not currently competing, MV Agusta, Aprilia, and Suzuki.
As Honda have struggled since the beginning of the year, and since Honda switched from the Ten Kate squad to the Moriwaki Althea team, riders Leon Camier, Ryuichi Kiyonari, and Alessandro Delbianchi all struggling to get close to the top ten, Honda have benefited from the rev limit system working two ways, and not just one.
Honda have been granted an extra 500RPM to increase their maximum to 15,050.
The press release from the FIM also notes that BMW chose to use the standard engine during the first two rounds of 2019, and so those results were weighted less when taking any change to BMW’s rev limits into account.
If the S1000RR continues to struggle in top speed against the other brands, they may yet gain more revs after the next three rounds.
What difference will all these changes make? It is unlikely that the loss of 250 revs will make a huge amount of difference to the Ducati Panigale V4R.
Bautista’s dominance seems to be more about the perfect match of rider and machine than any specific amount of horsepower. What’s more, Ducati used their recent test at Aragon to try the bike with 250 RPM less, and so they already have an idea of how the bike will react.
The added revs for the Fireblade may give Honda a chance to catch up, though: if Moriwaki can coax a little more horsepower from the top end of the bike, they may get a little closer to the front.
Below are the new and old rev limits for all bikes, and below that, the press release from the FIM announcing the changes:
|Bike||New rev limit||Old rev limit|
|Aprilia RSV4 RF||14,700||14,700|
|Ducati Panigale R||12,400||12,400|
|Ducati Panigale V4R||16,100||16,350|
|MV Agusta F4 RR||14,950||14,950|