WSB: Series bosses announce plans to level up field in 2018
World Superbike bosses have finally announced the changes they will introduce to take steps towards evening out the field in 2018.
While the announcement comes later than expected, the changes are in-line with what was reported in MCN earlier this year in that the series will introduce manufacturer-specific rev limits and a concession system in the hope that such changes will help find a performance parity which will in turn lend to closer racing action.
The factory Kawasaki and Ducati teams have dominated the Superbike World Championship in recent years, with no machine other than a factory Kawasaki or Ducati winning a dry WSB race since Leon Haslam took victory for Aprilia in Qatar at the end of the 2015 season.
The changes that will be introduced are:
Manufacturer-specific rev limits will replace a previous system designed to balance performance using air restrictors. Each manufacturer will start the season with a rev-limit allocated by the FIM, but this can be altered at various points throughout the season depending upon performance.
A points-based concession system will also be introduced to restrict the engine development of the most competitive machines, meaning should Kawasaki and Ducati boast the advantage they have in recent years their engine development will be frozen while other manufacturers can plough on. Concession points will be awarded per podium finishes and at various points in the season, any manufacturer that have achieved fewer concession points than the leading manufacturers will be allowed to introduce updated, price-capped concession engine components, from valve springs to camshafts.
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SUSPENSION AND APPROVED ENGINE PARTS
A price cap and approval process has also been introduced to several key frame, suspension and engine components. These will be called ‘approved parts’ and include swing arms, triple clamps, linkages and sumps. The FIM say this process ensures access and availability to all parts for teams along with controlled pricing.
However, after vehement opposition from certain manufacturers, it seems WSB bosses have held off introducing a spec-ECU for the 2018 season, but have said that approved electronics and software will be discussed by the relevant bodies during 2018 for implementation in 2019/20.