BSB Blog: Is BSB Evo the future – or just it’s control ecu?

Published: 09 April 2010

If you are a purist racing fan then anything that restricts performance has to be bad.

But a realist would argue that 200bhp bikes are enough. And that the more electronic riders aids bikes get, the less exciting racing is to watch.

And, presumably, the purists would prefer to see bikes backing in a little, spinning tyres up more, doing a few wheelies – and even be happier knowing that the riders have to be a little smarter on conserving tyre life than letting their technicians control it with super complex traction control maps.

The BSB Evo control ecu is based on the same all-new M170 unit that is being used by Worx Suzuki and HM Plant Honda in BSB.

The difference is that the control ecu has certain functions, such as the traction control, launch control and anti-wheelie elements, locked down.

The aims of the control ecu are two-fold: reduce costs and reduce the amount of electronic rider aids that are killing the spectacle of motorcycle racing.

The control ecu is being supplied to teams by MSVR this year but would cost around £3000 – plus a £2000 technical support package – if teams had to buy them. 

Teams running Motec in BSB would pay a minimum of £10,000 depending on the spec of the system. Add functions. Add costs.

In the case of BSB Evo, the teams are being supplied the ecu free of charge and there were at least six Motec technicians on hand during the Brands Hatch race weekend to help the teams get acclimatised to using the system.

The beauty of the control ecu is that MSVR have control. They can plug into the ecu to check systems for cheating.

They could also, theoretically, impose rpm limits to curb lap times and preserve engine life, reducing costs even further.

Talking to some of the top BSB teams, I’ve been told that they don’t relish the thought of Evo across the board – for the simple fact that a standard engine won’t save on costs.

They argue we’ve been there before in 2008 with the superstock-based rules and they were ditched after year.

The FIM rules we’re currently running allow tuning but it also allows racing parts, which don’t necessarily enhance performance but do ensure longevity.

One top crew chief told me they would have to spend just as much rebuilding engines – and buying in huge stocks of parts to carefully match reciprocating parts to ensure good balance in their engines, than they would building a full-tuned engine that’s far safer under harsh racing conditions.

What I have heard though, is a lot of positive feedback about a control ecu.

Teams tell me that would really would cut their costs and – with limited electronic rider aids - would  have that added bonus of bringing some spectacle back to the racing.    

If a control ecu works in Formula One - it sure as hell can work in BSB. But it’s just going to take time to perfect.

And that’s one major reason why BSB Evo is being trialled the way it is and wasn’t incorporated into the main BSB championship from the outset.

So what do you think? BSB Evo across the board for 2011 or BSB as it is now but with a control ecu?