As the World Superbike turns …

WSBK could look very different next season.
WSBK could look very different next season.
WSBK could look very different next season.

To nobody’s great surprise, the Indian round of the World Superbike championship has been cancelled. Originally set as the season ender November 17 at the Buddh circuit, the race has basically fallen victim to India’s onerous bureaucracy.

In effect, the Indian government insists on treating any material coming in as part of a race team as being imported, and the same stuff leaving as being exported. Anywhere else in the world, there’s simply an exemption under a blanket bond for short-term use posted by the series organizers or race promoter. The Indian requirements mean for huge monetary individual bonds for each teams and massive waiting times while equipment is held in bond as mountains of paperwork are completed.

Most of the teams have been protesting vigorously ever since the round was announced, and the FIM and Dorna finally decided it wasn’t practical to continue. An announcement has been made that negotiations are underway for new arrangements by 2015.

Meanwhile, back at the ranch, so to speak, series owners Dorna and the MSMA (Motorcycle Sport Manufacturers Association) have announced yet more rule changes for 2014. Additionally, in an announcement eerily reminiscent of the CRT category creation in Moto 2, there is to be a second class created within the WSB paddock.

Changes to the existing class, “aimed at reducing costs for the motorcycle and its components” include the following:

– a limit of eight engines per rider per season

– a so-far unspecified limit to gear ratios

– a price cap on brakes and suspension

Further, “In order to ensure that there are a sufficient number of riders with competitive motorcycles on the grid, the MSMA has agreed to provide, on request, a complete motorcycle package at a fixed prize, for the years 2014, 2015 and 2016. The motorcycle packages supplied will be the same as those used by the manufacturer and will receive certain updates and maintenance from the manufacturers during the season.”

The new EVO class will use the same chassis, suspension, and brake rules, but will have electronics and engines limited to what’s now available in the Superstock class – again, apparently in an attempt to contain costs. Whether that will eventually become the norm is anyone’s guess. Two Italian teams currently running Superstock have already announced plans to join the EVO class.

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