We Test The World’s Ultimate Middleweight Racers!
MotoUSA jets to Portimao, Portugal to ride the top two World Supersport bikes from this year’s championship. Be sure to check out the World Supersport Comparison video!
Look up the words racetrack and fun in the Motorcycle Dictionary and there’s a good chance you will find a photo of a World Supersport bike. Horsepower in the range of 150 at the wheel, weight sub 400 lbs and full Superbike electronics. Good luck trying to find a motorcycle much more enticing than that. And as far as the actual racing goes, it too doesn’t get much better than the middleweight world championship; bar-bashing and five-deep photo-finishes the norm. It’s for this very reason I’ve been chomping at the bit to throw a leg over a WSS 600 since the day I first watched the middle SBK series on TV over a decade ago.
That opportunity finally came the Monday following the final round of the series in Portimao, Portugal. And the icing on the cake? We would be riding not one, but two WSS machines. In fact, the top two on the planet: Cal Crutchlow’s championship-winning factory Yamaha YZF-R6 and Eugene Laverty’s second-place Vodafone Parkalgar Honda CBR600RR.
This test was set up and arranged by the folks at Infront Sports, the controlling body behind the World Superbike series. Thankfully for us they’re darn near off their rockers! Because as a result a very limited group of journalists (less than 20 from around the world) were invited to ride the machinery, exactly as they exited the track the day prior (or so they said), for one 20-minute session each. This was run in conjunction with the World Superbike test we featured last month, so it made for quite the hectic day – nine bikes to ride in total. Hard work, but every lap well worth the effort. Furthermore, through some connections within the teams, MotoUSA was able to weasel nearly 30 minutes on each bike, and as such were able to really put the two 600s to the test.
As for my assumption that these machines represent the pinnacle of fun on two wheels? It was, without the faintest question, dead on the mark. The Superbikes may have been more ‘gnarly’, and as such more of an adrenal workout, but as far the grin on my face went, none held a candle to either of the Supersport machines!
Welcome to the 2009 MotoUSA World Supersport Comparison…