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Assen WorldSBK: Upgrades allowed but nothing has appeared

Aragon's Concession Points calculations squeezed out the surprising news that all WorldSBK manufacturers – with the exception of podium mountaineers Ducati – could create one more spec of engine for the season.

Assen was the first opportunity for a new engine spec for the vast majority of the field but nobody arrived at Assen with any new parts. Unsurprising, as it was only one weekend after the first possibility to bring anything new.

But there is more to it than just that, according to FIM Technical guru, Scott Smart. “A few of them knew they were going to get concessions anyway, and some were unsure, so nobody has got anything sat in a top drawer waiting to go straight into their engines,” he told bikesportnews.com on Friday at Assen.


“But you have to look at the fact that it is quite a tough calendar for WorldSBK. We start really early and then we have a big gap between the first two rounds and then the next two rounds have come pretty quickly so there has not really been time to come back and develop bikes. In effect, after this event is the first opportunity that anyone is going to have to take their bikes back to the workshops.”

Some manufacturers will not have the budget to do a mid-season upgrade in any case, and it has to be remembered that whatever upgrade is brought for even the biggest and best resourced manufacturers will be set for the rest of the year. No more recalculations and next steps, it is a one shot mid-season deal.

“The factory teams have a development process going on in the background but because they get one upgrade they cannot just bring out a new camshaft, which might be better - you have to make sure what you are doing will improve the bike,” said Smart.

“So you cannot afford to waste that ticket. This one opportunity has to count, and they have to produce the other parts to make sure that their customer teams are satisfied with what they need. So I do not think we are going to see anything for a fair few rounds.”

With the winter development of manufacturers or teams aimed at the new tech starting rules for 2018, and lots of man hours invested already, it is no small decision to change the whole engine package.

“Don’t forget that these bikes are fairly mature,” said Smart. “Kawasaki did a lot of work to get that bike to work over the winter. They have not got the opportunity to have a lots of horsepower. They may be able to tickle a few more kph out of it, but it is not going to be a massive step.

"We look more towards someone like Honda to be able to pull out a little bit of a bigger step. But again, they have to make sure what they do bring out they do not waste.”

The other element of balancing, maximum engine revs, will be of more importance to some, like Kawasaki which already has the capability to rev higher from its previous engine spec.

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