The International Motorcycling Federation and the Superbike Racing Commission released a number of amendments to the 2013 World Superbike Championship rulebook including pitstops, fake headlights and a revised starting grid alignment.
We’ve already seen the fake headlights with Kawasaki getting a jump on the new regulation earlier this season with headlight decals on Tom Sykes‘ and Loris Baz‘s ZX-10R. Starting in 2013, all superbikes will have fake headlights to resemble their homologated production models. The idea is create a closer visual tie between the race bikes and their street-legal counterparts. Superbikes will switch to 17-inch wheels from the current 16.5-inch wheels, another move to bring them closer to production models.
While the headlight rule is mostly cosmetic, other new rules will have a much larger affect on racing. Starting next season, races will no longer be stopped because of weather except for extraordinary conditions. Because WSBK limits teams to a single machine per race with no spares, riders will not be able to switch to a second bike like in MotoGP. Instead, riders will be allowed to enter the pits at any opportunity to change tires or make adjustments. A pit crew of no more than three mechanics will be allowed to make adjustments, though refueling will not be allowed.
The new rules also eliminate the different weight limits between 1000cc Inline-Fours and 1200cc Twins. This past season, Twins had to meet a minimum weight limit of 377 pounds while the Fours had a lower limit of 364 pounds. Under the new rules, both Twins and Fours must meet a minimum weight of 364 pounds. Those weight limits may still change however as the regulations allow for incremental increases in weight for Twins to 370 pounds and 377 pounds at a later date for competitive balance. The rules also allow for an air restrictor handicap for Twins if the minimum weight increases prove to be insufficient.
Other technical rules include a red rear light for wet races and brake lever covers, both for safety reasons. The red lights will make it easier to see other motorcycles in wet or low-visibility conditions while the brake covers will prevent accidental activation of the front brake during racing contact.
Another big change is a new starting grid featuring rows of three instead of the previous alignment with rows of four.