British Superbikes: Airwaves Ducati pull out of Donington Park round

Published: 20 May 2008

British Superbike Championship leaders Airwaves Ducati will not be racing at Donington Park for round four of the season due to concerns over extra weight being added to their machines.

Team Owner Darrell Healey has withdrawn the team who lead both the riders and teams standings, due to a safety concern with the recently added regulation.

It was announced on Monday that anyone running V-twin machinery in British Superbikes will have to carry a minimum weight of 175kg, instead of 165kg as set out at the beginning of the season.

The move to hit the Ducati’s with a weight penalty came as a result of four-cylinder teams suggesting they were over-stretching the standard engine parts of their bikes to keep with the Italian machines.

Airwaves Team Manager Colin Wright told MCN: “We won’t be going to Donington this weekend.

“The race organizers have imposed this penalty without any supporting evidence.

“There has been concerns about the safety of other bikes and reliability, but adding 10kg of weight to our bikes effectively four days before a race weekend means we can’t do any testing and for safety reasons we are going to withdraw.

“I don’t know what MSVR will do as we may have broken the conditions of the championship by not attending and be kicked out.

“But Ducati hasn’t even tested the 1098R with an added 10kg either.

“We are prepared to go along with the new regulation as long as we get time to test with it.

“From tomorrow onwards the team and myself will look into how we can add this extra weight, but for us Donington isn’t going to happen.”

In an official team statement, Team Principal of the GSE team, Darrell Healey said: "I am absolutely astounded that the changes have been introduced after only three race meetings and four days before the next event at Donington Park.

"We, as a team, have spent tens of thousands of pounds testing and developing the 1098R based on what we thought were fixed regulations, but it is now clear that under Article A5 MSVR/MCRCB can clearly change the rules as and when they please!

"This is not a situation that either the team or I are comfortable with, and whilst little can be done for this year, I would certainly require absolute clarity on a fixed set of technical rules if we were to compete in any future British Superbike Championships.”

“The bottom line is that we do not have the most competitive race bike performance wise, and that is clear for everybody to see, but both of our riders have been consistent over the first six races and that is why Shane leads the championship.

"Similarly, had our competitors achieved consistent race finishes, our lead would most probably be less than five points, which begs the question as to whether the organisers would have reached the same conclusion!

“However, the real joke here is that last October, we, on behalf of Ducati, requested the use of non-production pistons on safety grounds to use in this years BSB Championship, and that request was completely thrown out by ALL the teams racing four cylinder motorcycles.

"Now, just over six months later, those same teams are demanding rule changes to allow non-standard engine parts to be fitted on safety grounds!

"I would suggest that their time would be better spent concentrating on producing fast, but reliable race bikes, rather than constantly whingeing to the race organisers to vary the technical rules.”