WorldSBK chief Gregorio Lavilla has given more details about new rider-bike weight measures designed to ensure greater performance parity on the 2024 WorldSBK grid.
From next year, WorldSBK will retain the current 168kg minimum standard bike weight and introduce a new reference weight of 80kg, with ballast added for those who come in lighter than this figure.
The new regulation, which was unanimously agreed to by the five manufacturers, will be welcomed particularly but rider who have pointed to double WorldSBK Champion Alvaro Bautista having an unfair advantage under acceleration due to his light and small profile.
While Lavilla says there were no plans to bring the lights riders up to the same weight of the heaviest riders - which would result in a hefty increase of 30kg of ballast being added - he says a 0.5kg per kilogram ratio provides the best compromise.
“The minimum bike weight is equal for everyone at 168kg but the difference in riders can be 30kg from the heaviest to the lightest,” the 2005 BSB Champion and former WorldSBK rider said. “It’s never been intended in our sport to add 30kg of ballast to the lightest.
"In motorsport, the majority of ballast which is accepted ranges from 8kg to 10kg; we understand that with the machinery which is already built to a certain weight, adding 10kg is something huge. Unanimously, all manufacturers have reached an agreement and that is going to be the minimum bike weight and a reference rider weight of 80kg with all race gear on.
"Whoever is below that reference will have 0.5 per kilogram added. In an average of 80kg, some of the lightest riders will have to add 5-6kg (depending how much less they are to 80kg) with the 0.5 ratio reference.
"This is a new way in Superbike, to not have a fixed, defined number, so that over the years, the reference for weight and what to add can be adapted accordingly, but the rule is already there. From a production-based machine, in WorldSBK, we need to have some tools in order to balance certain things.
"Everybody understands that close racing is best for our sport, as well as trying to cap certain performance in the future for rider safety.
In addition to the new weight measures, WorldSBK will now define RPM limits at the start of the season and won't be adjusted during the course of the year, fuel flow controls will be introduced and fuel tanks will now have a 21-litre maximum.
"A restriction on fuel, the RPM limit removal, the combined weight etc… these challenges are huge and I am so happy that we have all agreed; everyone will have their own challenge but it’s the best way to go.”