Beginning in 2012 the World Superbike
Championship will see a new set of rules instituted by FIM. Supersport and Superstock classes will receive changes to their current system as well, with all revisions receiving a unanimous vote during a recent phone conference held between head honchos of the Superbike Commission and IMS. The greatest change is in respect to the number of bikes allowed per rider, which is now set firmly at one instead of two. The
number of engines allowed throughout the Superbike season has also been limited to eight. The changes point toward an overall cut in expenses for teams next year as a sluggish world economy tries to correct itself.
But those aren’t the only changes. The minimum weight for Superbike and Superstock has also been updated with 1200cc designs now set at 171kg, which is up 6kg from 2011 rules. In particular the new policy also states that the procedure for the application of handicaps to 1200cc two-cylinder bikes has been ‘modified’. It is believed the specifics of this modification are being withheld until Ducati
issues more details on its new Superbike, the 1199 Panigale
, at this November’s EICMA Milan Bike show.
The new rules also highlight specific actions to be carried out by race direction in the event of inclement weather. If a race director believes that a dry race has become wet, he or she may interrupt the competition to allow riders to change to wet tires. Also, if the contest has been stopped for weather it must be restarted as a wet race.
More highlights include changes to practice and qualifying, which will be 15 minutes shorter in 2012 after free practice and qualifying were reduced to 45 minutes. The Superpole system itself will also feature new policy: In Dry Superpole the first 16 riders will qualify for Superpole 1, then the first 12 riders from Superpole 1 will progress to Superpole 2 with the fastest eight moving on to Superpole 3. If a wet Superpole is declared, however, the first 16 riders will complete a 20-minute Superpole 1, with the fastest eight riders moving to a final 20-minute Superpole 2.
Some of the last updates include red flag situations and penalties. Effective 2012 all riders who are competing at the time a red flag is shown will be allowed to restart if they are ready. Rider penalties have come to include a drop in position as well as a drop in any number of grid positions in future races.
Effective immediately the commission has also decided to prohibit World Superbike practice from December 1st until January 15th.