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What difference is there in the performance of a Superbike and a MotoGP bike?

Based on lap times recorded during practice at Valencia in 2004, the difference is about 4 seconds per lap, which would allow the fastest superbikes to qualify easily for a MotoGP race. This difference in performance has not changed significantly over the years. At Jerez in 1990 the difference was more or less the same.

If different tyre manufacturers were allowed to compete, this gap could probably be narrowed even further, but this would certainly mean higher participation costs for Superbike. That is why the organisers of Superbike have opted for a single tyre supplier.

If we look at production-derived cars and formula prototypes, the performance gap between them is tremendous. A Formula 1 car can lap the Hockenheim circuit in about twenty seconds less than a DTM sports car, which is already radically modified with respect to the standard model. Motorcycles competing in Superbike are only slightly different from the machines on sale at your local dealer.

What technical differences are there between a Superbike and MotoGP bike?

The World Superbike Championship is the ultimate competition for motorcycles derived from standard production models. The frame cannot be modified. Teams are free only to modify the suspensions, brakes, swingarm, and the diameter and size of the wheels. Superbike racing motorcycles must also maintain the same profile as their roadgoing counterparts.

MotoGP racing on the other hand is reserved for prototype machines that bear no resemblance at all to production machines. Maximum permitted engine displacement for MotoGP is 990 cc, but the only other restrictions are on weight, which is determined by the number of cylinders, and fuel tank capacity, which has been limited to 22 litres since 2005. There are no rules governing the chassis or other components. Team mechanics can even make technical changes between one race and the next. In Superbike, before you can change a bike’s configuration (for example the number of cylinders in the engine) the manufacturer must first homologate a new model and manufacture the required number of roadgoing machines. Even the tyres are prototypes in MotoGP, whereas in Superbike, since 2004, a single supplier regime has been enforced and all riders are equipped with the same tyres.

Characteristics & Basic Rules of Racing classes in WSB

Supersport bikes must have four stroke engines of between 400 and 600 cc for four cylinder machines, and between 600 and 750 cc for twins. Minimum weight is 162 kg for four cylinder machines, and 170 kg for twins.

The World Superbike Championship, World Supersport Championship, the FIM Superstock 1000 Cup, and the European Superstock 600 Championship are top level motorcycle racing competitions for bikes based on standard production motorcycles.

Superbike is the category that permits most modifications. Supersport is already more oriented towards the type of machine you can normally purchase from your local dealer. The two Superstock championships are the competitions most strictly tied to standard production models.

The rules of Superbike are designed to allow teams the freedom to modify or change certain parts in the interest of safety, research and development, but certain limits are imposed to avoid the escalation of costs and power output (article 2.4 of the Rules). These restrictions are needed to avoid transforming the championship into a competition for prototypes disguised as production bikes.

The overall appearance of a Superbike racing motorcycle, seen from the front, rear and sides, must correspond to that of the bike homologated for use on public roads, with the sole exception of the exhaust system.

Superbike racing motorcycles must have four stroke engines of between 800 and 1000 cc for twins, and between 750 and 1000 cc for triples and four cylinder machines (article 2.4.1).

Since 2004, to balance out the performance of the various engine configurations, differentiated levels of preparation have been permitted. Twins and triples up to 900 cc are allowed to change all the rotating parts in the engine (meaning that only the crankcase, cylinder heads, cylinder blocks and the number of cylinders must remain the same as on the standard bikes). Four cylinder machines are required to use a larger number of roadgoing components (including the crankshaft, and valvegear, etc.).

Minimum weight is set at 165 kilograms, as measured at the end of the race, with a tolerance of only 1%. Refuelling or adding oil is not permitted.

Superbike racing uses standard lead-free fuel.

Supersport bikes must have four stroke engines of between 400 and 600 cc for four cylinder machines, and between 600 and 750 cc for twins. Minimum weight is 162 kg for four cylinder machines, and 170 kg for twins.

FIM Superstock Cup machines must also have four stroke engines of between 600 and 1000 cc for four cylinder machines, between 750 and 1000 cc for triples, or between 850 and 1200 for twins. Minimum weight is decided by the FIM at the time of homologation and is equivalent to the dry weight of the roadgoing model minus 15 kilograms.

The European Superstock 600 Championship is based on 600 cc production motorcycles and is reserved for riders between 15 and 20 years of age. The Superstock 1000 championship is open to riders up to 24 years of age.

Source: World Superbike website
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