New Challenges

Moto SBK Enjeux

New challenges

Since its takeover by Dorna Sport, the Superbike World Championship has undergone changes in regulations, both sporting and technical. The objective is to differentiate this competition from the MotoGP as much as possible while making it more accessible in financial terms. After going through the Evo class which allowed the promoters of the championship to expand the line-up in 2014, they reached an agreement with the various manufacturers engaged in the Superbike World World. 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. This year, the Superbike Commission has 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 The balancing system using air intake restrictors has been replaced by a system limiting the engine speed.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. At certain times of the season, the teams with the lowest number of concession points will be allowed to introduce updates. In order to give smaller structures with smaller budgets more of a chance to make it to the podium and compete with the front-runners, approved parts will be subject to price caps on several important parts of the chassis, suspensions and engine. Note that the use of aerodynamic parts is only allowed if they equip the approved model of the machine sold in Europe, Japan and North America. It has also been decided that electronic suspensions cannot be used, even if they are present on the approved models. Reigning world champion for three years, the official Kawasaki KRT Elf team remains the benchmark for the Superbike World Championship. Still favourites, Jonathan Rea and Tom Sykes however will have to curb the ambitions of Chaz Davies and Marco Melandri whose Ducati's made excellent progress last year. Although they were irregular performers in 2017, Alex Lowes and Michael van der Mark also want to shine. As will Leon Camier and Jake Gagne, the new pair of riders for Honda, or Loris Baz, back in Superbike with a BMW.

In Supersport Kenan Sofuoglu will be trying to win back the title won last year by Frenchman Lucas Mahias. If the two men are clearly favourites in the title race, other contenders will be waiting in ambush such as Jules Cluzel, now riding a Yamaha, Anthony West, always in the game with his Kawasaki, Randy Krummenacher, who has returned to the discipline, or Sandro Cortese, a transfer from Moto2. Twenty-three riders will try their luck in the Supersport World Championship this year.

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