The shape of SBK technical regulations in 2014 and beyond came one step closer to completion with a joint statement on Friday at Portimao, from the FIM, Dorna and MSMA, stating that a ‘framework’ for the new rules had finally been worked out.
There is now an agreement of the main technical rules and costs for complete bikes, lease packages and other performance components like suspension, brakes and gearbox options. Crucially, there will also be an engine number limit, in the form already adopted in MotoGP. This has been included to try and prevent extreme levels of tuning by manufacturers willing to sacrifice financial gain on their engine packages for an edge in performance that would require more frequent or extensive engine refreshes than their rivals.
Arguably the most important element is that some manufacturers got their wish of the changes arriving in stages, starting in 2014 but continuing for two more years, while those who wanted to make one big change for reasons of future stability appear to have lost that argument. After 2014 the technical rules and machine costs will reduce annually to arrive at what is hoped to be the final basic SBK spec and overall machine cost for the long term, in 2016.
Each manufacturer will also have to make a minimum number of bikes, of the same state of tune and in the same technical spec, available for sale or lease to a minimum number of riders, expected to be six. This is seen as the best way to entice privateers back into the class, by ensuring that the gap between factory and non-factory bikes is reduced far more than it is possible to be now, irrespective of which manufacturer any new privateer team chooses to go with.
The rules in their entirety will be presented soon.