In the opening round of the World Superbike championship at Phillip Island, the factory Aprilia squad introduced a new specification engine. The new RSV4 race enigne features gear driven cams instead of chain driven cams, which are on the homologated road bike.
Aprilia claim that the rules allow them to make the change to gear driven cams and that they also gained approval from the FIM (the sport’s governing body) to introduce the new technology. Gear driven cams are generally unused on road bikes due to their high cost but are regularly seen in the world of MotoGP – not WSB.
At Phillip Island rival manufacturers met to discuss Aprilia’s use of the gear driven cams and then stated their argument to Aprilia boss Gigi Dall’agna.
The rules state: “The method of cam drive must remain as homologated unless a complete kit is available through normal commercial channels. These kits must be available in significant quantity and be listed in the racing spare parts book.”
But the 2010 rulebook also includes an addition which says: “Aftermarket or modified cam drive components are allowed, however the cam drive must be in the homologated location and the system must be as homologated.”
Aprilia riders Leon Camier (pictured) and Max Biaggi will not be penalized for using the questionable engines at the opening round, but the new engine may be banned from here on out. A decision will be rendered by the next round March 26th.
The matter has now gone to the SBK commission for clarification with a decision expected before the second round of the championship in Portimao, Portugal on 26th to 28th of March.
Despite rival teams clearly not wanting Aprilia to gain any further advantage in the engine department – the RSV4 is already the fastest bike in the championship – no protests were lodged at the end of the race. That means that Aprilia won’t be penalized but could be told they cannot use the engine again.
Confirmation from the FIM and the SBK commission is expected in the next week. Stay tuned as we will keep you updated with the outcome as soon as it’s announced.