New Challenges

Moto SBK Enjeux

New challenges

Since 2013, only one World Superbike title has escaped the Kawasaki team. With Tom Sykes then Jonathan Rea, over the last decade the Japanese manufacturer has built one of the finest track records in the discipline. Quadruple world champion title, this year once again Jonathan Rea will be the favourite successor. Now teamed  with Leon Haslam, the Brit still seems just as motivated. "He wants to continue to improve, and we are here to help him," says Guim Roda, manager of the KRT structure. "It's our job, to make sure he's always motivated, to allow him to continue learning. When you race, you can always learn and progress. It's a great source of motivation." To remain motivated and focused, Rea will undoubtedly count this season on the hard time that Alvaro Bautista intends to give him. Transferred from MotoGP, the Spaniard has joined the official Ducati team to ride the brand-new Panigale V4. And he has obviously quickly adapted to his new discipline. Alex Lowes and Michael Van der Mark will also be formidable opponents for Jonathan Rea. The Yamaha bikes regularly progress as does Paul Denning's duo. Someone else also worth following is Tom Sykes who now rides for BMW, but also Marco Melandri who is back on a Yamaha, Eugene Laverty who has inherited a Ducati and Leon Camier who has switched to the Honda camp. Since its takeover by Dorna Sport, the Superbike World Championship has undergone a number of changes in regulations. On the chassis side, the frame has to be the original factory version while the swing-arm and suspensions are specific. On the engine side, the short-block and the crankshaft must be standard, but modifications are allowed to the cylinder head (camshafts, intake and exhaust ducts) and the connecting rods (which must be of similar material and identical in weight). The valves, pistons and other major parts must be the original factory versions. As for the gearbox, only one choice of gears is allowed throughout the season.  In 2018, the Superbike Commission introduced new rules regarding the engine speed limiter, the performance fairness algorithm and the "concession parts" with price caps designed to ensure the availability of all of the parts for all of the teams, as well as controlled pricing. The balancing system using air intake restrictors has been replaced by a system limiting the engine speed. This limit can be set at any time during the season and applies to each manufacturer. A system of concession points will be introduced in order to limit the development of the engines of the fastest machines.

In Supersport Sandro Cortese will be defending his title against a horde of opponents all determined to make him stumble. Among them, the new Kawasaki Puccetti Racing Team rider, Frenchman Lucas Mahias, world champion of the discipline in 2017. Sandro Cortese will also need to be wary of Jules Cluzel who now rides for GMT 94, as well as of Randy Krummenacher and Federico Caricasulo who made improved considerably last year.

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