Ducati Superbike racing program Director, Davide Tardozzi has told Speed TV that new FIM regulations pertaining to SBK 2008 have been agreed upon, and are likely to be announced on the coming Sunday, after the Italian MotoGP at Mugello. The FIM have, in principle, agreed to Ducati's demands, and the new rules will allow twin-cylinder engines to go up to 1200cc.
This revised engine capacity for twins in World Superbikes is likely to have a major effect on many manufacturers' plans – BMW, KTM and Aprilia are likely to enter the prestigious series in 2008. Japanese manufacturers, all of whom run 1000cc four-cylinder engines, are likely to be unhappy about this. Alstare Suzuki, for one, are already reported to be thinking about getting out of World Superbikes, and going to MotoGP.
On the subject of why Ducati have been pushing for the 1200cc engine capacity limit for twins, Tardozzi says it's because 'That capacity allows us to be on an almost equal level to the Japanese 1000cc four-cylinder machines on the road. The difference in horsepower is around twenty percent. In World Superbikes, the best Japanese fours have about 215bhp, while we have about 194.'
What about electronics though? Aren't Ducati already supposed to have the best electronics in SBK? Says Tardozzi, 'We have the best electronics, but electronics and traction control cannot help you make the rear wheel turn faster. It can control the rear wheel on acceleration, but when you are on a straight, it is only the engine that is making the rear wheel turn – electronics cannot make more horsepower!'
So with the engine capacity for twins going up to 1200cc, what does this mean for the Ducati 1098? Well, expect a homologation special – perhaps called the 1098R – which will actually have a 1198cc engine. As per the new rules, Ducati will have to make at least 1000 units of this bike and offer it for sale on the open market. Of course, despite being hugely expensive, we don't suppose Ducati would have any trouble selling all 1000 units of their World Superbikes-spec 1098. The only thing that remains to be seen is how Japanese manufacturers react to this change...Also see:
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