New 2018 WorldSBK Rules Adopted
Mentioned at the beginning of October on Site by the executive director Daniel Carrera, the modifications to the WSBK regulations supposed to rebalance the championship were retained. Enough to reconnect with the boom years of World Superbike, like 2002 for example ? Explanations.
The Superbike Commission met again on October 24 to update the technical regulations of its world championship, largely dominated by the official Kawasaki ZX-10RR and Ducati Panigale R and crushed by Jonathan Rea.
For these last three seasons, three men have shared most of the victories: Rea, Davies and Sykes have sounded their national "God Save The Queen" 23 times in 2015 (not counting the two victories of Haslam), 25 times in 2016 and 23 in 2017 (out of the 24 races contested to date). Enough to disgust Elizabeth II herself, no ?!
On his own, Jonathan Rea piled up fourteen victories in 2015, nine in 2016, and he could well break his record in 2017: during the traditional Losail night final (November 3 and 4 in Qatar), Kawasaki rider no. 1 will aim for 16 victories !
In the event of a double, the ruthless – and nevertheless respectable – "JR" would beat another even more considerable record: that of the number of points scored by a single driver in a single WorldSBK season! Site readers – who, as everyone knows, have a little more RAM than others – remember Johnny passed nearby two years ago….
Too often the same who win? Yes, but…
Colin Edwards remains the record holder to this day: the "Texas Tornado" and its Honda VTR-1000 SP1 in Castrol colors had amassed 552 points in 2002. During the 26 races of this legendary season, the American-Japanese duo had collected eleven wins, ten second places, four thirds and a fourth.
That same year, another driver had monopolized the top step of the podium in the first two thirds of the season: Troy Bayliss, riding his Ducati 998 (fourteen wins and seven second places in particular). Only one other man had managed to win in the race: the remarkable "wild card" Makoto Tamada, at home in Japan. !
Three other WSBK 2002 competitors – Hodgson, Haga and Xaus – had regularly accompanied Bayliss and Edwards on the podiums … But unlike today, this lack of diversity and the outrageous domination of the reigning world champion and then the vice -champion did not tire the fans.
On the contrary: Colin’s comeback from Troy at the end of the season and the fight for the world title in the last race at Imola – at Ducati! – had captivated the crowds and kept the suspense going until the very last lap. This second Italian round had also instantly become cult…
It was the good old days, with which the current World Superbike officials intend to revive by revising certain technical points of the 2018 championship. Mentioned on the sidelines of the French WorldSBK 2017 event on Site with the, these changes have just been confirmed.
"The 2018 regulations were approved following the examination of several aspects of the category," the committee reports diplomatically. "A detailed analysis was carried out in collaboration with the teams, the drivers and the manufacturers with particular attention to parity, affordability (rough term, but we can see what they mean, Editor’s note!) And competition".
Will these new regulations make it possible to prevent, like this year, the fight between the reigning champion Jonathan Rea and the vice-champion – well almost – Chaz Davies from being, five races before the end of the season ?
New rules governing engine development, in particular, will have a direct impact on the 2019 season as well. Until then, the World Superbike will have to decide on, a solution successfully employed in the MotoGP "empress" category … To be continued, on Site of course: stay connected !
WSBK 2018 technical regulations
New engine speed limits
The "balancing system" between the 4-cylinders and the Twins using air intake restrictors is replaced by a system limiting the engine speed. This limit can be adjusted at any time during the season and applies separately to each manufacturer..
For the record, the maximum speed of the 4-cylinders – whether they are in line, in V or with "Crossplane" setting … – was until now fixed at 15,000 rpm. The Twins – "the" Ducati twin cylinder in effect, which will be replaced by the in 2019 – were limited to 12,700 rpm.
At the start of the 2018 season, the Aprilia, BMW, MV Agusta, Suzuki and Yamaha engines are expected to take 14,700 revs. The Honda engine – who grinds less than these cronies in the stock version? – will only be able to climb to 14,300 turns. As for Kawasaki and Ducati machines – too efficient ?! -, they will now be clamped at 14,100 and 12,400 rpm respectively.
A new system of concession points will be introduced next year in order to limit the development of the engines of the fastest machines. A victory will be worth 3 points, a second place 2 points and a third place 1 point.
At the end of the first three races – trials? -, teams that are nine points or more away from the best machine will be allowed to introduce updates. On the same principle, changes may or may not be introduced during the season.
Secondary advantage according to the commission: the private teams will have access to engine parts (mainly distribution, see the table above), the cost of which will be capped in order to help them achieve the same level of performance as the teams supported by the factories.
At the end of the season, the manufacturers who will be less than 36 points from the leader – be careful, 36 points of "concessions" always, very different from the points of the manufacturer’s championship! – must start the following season with the same engine.
New parts approved
A price cap and validation process has been applied to several key parts of the chassis, engine and suspensions. They are called "approved parts" and are listed in the table below with in order in French: swing arm, triple trees, shock absorber links, oil pan, Superbike electronic kit.
Proceeding in the same way as the existing regulations – "and very well received", guarantee the Gentils Organizers! – concerning the suspensions and brakes, this ensures access and availability to all parts for all teams with cost control.
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