The first changes to SBK following Dorna being put in charge of the series? Emphasizing its bikes’ basis in production machines. We already saw some teams running them this summer, but for 2013, all bikes will need to sport tacky fake headlights. Pit stops are also making a return, albeit without refueling; wheel sizes are growing to 17 inches; weights for twins and fours are now even and starting grids are being re-arranged.
For those casual fans struggling to follow along at home, the evil Spaniards at Dorna are now running both MotoGP and SBK. Cue much hand wringing from journalists over what that means. The best piece written so far is from Mat Oxley, who sums it all up thusly:
“[This]…is the most significant happening in motorcycle racing since World Superbike’s launch a quarter of a century ago.
“Dorna have forged ahead with their moves to make MotoGP more affordable. Inevitably, this means making it slower. Now that they run WSB as well, they can move WSB rules in the same direction. If Dorna make the right moves, both championships will have bigger grids.”
So onto the rules. Fake headlights = NASCAR; a clear visual connection between race and road. Tacky, but not a bad idea for race on Sunday, sell on Monday types.
17-inch wheels? Again, a closer connection to the tires run by production bikes is probably a good thing.
Brake lever covers? Expect to see these become commonplace on the road, first with guys obsessed with looking just like their favorite racers, then with everyone else once they realize the benefits come a crash or an impact with a car’s wing mirror.
Pit stops? It’ll be interesting to see how that plays out. Without the benefits of adding fuel, sacrificing major time in the pits isn’t going to be a commonplace occurrence.
Taillights? More safety is always good, especially in bad weather.
Equal weights for twins and fours? Now that’s going to be controversial. The FIM has long been accused of favoritism towards Ducati and the rule coincides with the 1199 entering the series. Yes, there’s a provision for additional weight being added should twins gain an unfair advantage, but 1,200cc v-twins vs 999cc fours all at 165kg? That’s going to rile the feathers of every other factory and team; Ducati is now the only factory running a twin in the series.