WorldSBK Releases Rev Limits for the 2020 Season

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To balance performance and make the championship more interesting, the rule makers at the WorldSBK series set maximum rev limits for all the entered bikes at the beginning of the season.

This usually isn’t much of a newsworthy event, but with the recent crop of superbikes hitting stratospheric numbers in their homologated street form, it is causing some interesting issues in the WorldSBK Championship.

Take for example last year with the Ducati Panigale V4 R, which came to the series with a 16,350 rpm limit.

Unsurprisingly, the Italian bike was on a whole different level with its straight-line speed, and we saw Alvaro Bautista take the bike to 11-straight victories.

It is only because of Bautista’s meltdown with results in the second-half of the season that Ducati saw its starting rev limit for the 2020 season set at 16,100 rpm – which is still an insanely high number.

The new Honda CBR1000RR-R Fireblade SP will come close to that number though, and arguably make more power from its inline-four engine than Ducati can boast from its V4 package.

To start the season, the Honda CBR1000RR-R will be limited to 15,600 rpms, which is a number derived from the bike’s street bike rev limit of 14,500 rpm. 

Of course, any of the manufacturers can see their rev limits raised or lowered after every three rounds of racing, by up to a factor of 250 rpm.

For example, the 2020 Yamaha YZF-R1 will come into the series with a 14,950 redline, which is a 250 rpm bump over the 2019 model’s limit at the start of last season.

This rev increase specifically comes from the lack of results for the Yamaha squad, and is an effort to bring the Japanese manufacturer closer to the winner’s box.

BMW Motorrad sees an extra 50 rpm added to the starting rev limit on the BMW S1000RR, while the Kawasaki Ninja ZX-10RR remains the same, at 14,600 rpm. The full listing for the 2020 season, along with 2019’s starting rev limits is below:

2020 Rev Limits for the World Superbike Championship

Ducati Panigale V4 R 16,100
Honda CBR1000RR-R SP2 15,600
BMW S1000RR 14,950
Yamaha YZF-R1M 14,950
Kawasaki Ninja ZX-10RR 14,600

2019 Rev Limits for the World Superbike Championship

Ducati Panigale V4 R 16,350
BMW S1000RR 14,900
Yamaha YZF-R1M 14,700
Kawasaki Ninja ZX-10RR 14,600
Honda CBR1000RR SP2 14,550

Source: WorldSBK; Photo: © 2019 Tony Goldsmith / Asphalt & Rubber – All Rights Reserved

Jensen Beeler

Despite his best efforts, Jensen is called one of the most influential bloggers in the motorcycle industry, and sometimes consults for motorcycle companies, whether they've solicited his expertise or not.