Till a few weeks ago, Ducati were threatening to pull out of World Superbikes if the FIM didn’t agree to upping the engine capacity limit for twin-cylinder engines to 1200cc, for 2008. Then, at the end of last month, the FIM did agree and an announcement was made regarding 1200cc twins being permitted for WSBK 2008.
Now, some tech regulations have also been announced. Yes, 1200cc twins will indeed be allowed to race against 1000cc inline-fours, but the twins will have to weigh six more kilos, have 50mm air restrictors and will have to use standard con-rods. The authorities will analyse how 1200cc twins perform against 1000cc fours with these restrictions in place, and if needed, the restrictions may be revised during the 2008 racing season.
Ducati, of course, will have a 1200cc version of their 1098 superbike ready by next year, and KTM and BMW may also come to World Superbikes with their own twins. Aprilia are also expected to go racing in WSBK next year, albeit with a 1000cc four-cylinder engine. For all these racing bikes, manufacturers will have to make at least 1,000 units in order to be able to homologate them for racing. And that’s just for 2008 and 2009. For 2010 and beyond, that number will go up to 3,000 bikes!
We appreciate the fact that more manufacturers may be coming to World Superbikes next year. It will mean more intense competition on the track and ultimately, better bikes for enthusiasts. But we really don’t know about this 1200cc engine capacity limit for twins. Manufacturers are free to choose an engine format (twins, fours, triples or anything else…) and develop it the way they want, so why should Ducati first choose the v-twin, then argue that it’s not as efficient as the inline-four, and arm-twist race organizers to make special concessions for their engines?
We don’t think it’s fair. We’ve seen Ducati’s four-cylinder MotoGP bikes and how they perform. That’s the way to go. If they want to continue with v-twin engines in WSBK, that’s fine, but in our opinion, Ducati should also be restricted to 1000cc like the Japanese manufacturers. Then, if they can still win, they would have proved a point. And they would’ve won the respect of racing enthusiasts worldwide. Let the playing field be level, then let the best bike win…Also see:
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