The International Motorcycling Federation is considering modifying its homologation requirements for the World Superbike Championship following Bimota‘s somewhat surprising plans to re-enter the series.
Under current regulations, manufacturers must produce a minimum number of motorcycles for it to be eligible to compete in the production-based WSBK championship. The official regulations currently require a minimum of 125 units produced for an initial homologation inspection, 500 units produced by June 30 of the current year, 1,000 units by the end of the current year and 2,000 units by the end of the following year.
These production requirements are no big deal for major manufacturers such as Honda and Ducati, but much more difficult for a marque like Bimota, or Erik Buell Racing for that matter. Bimota will be hard pressed to match those numbers with its BB3, and EBR, even with the help of Hero MotoCorp, may also have trouble producing enough units of the 1190RS.
The FIM recognizes those challenges, releasing a statement saying it would consider changing those requirements. The statement reads:
“The FIM welcomes new motorcycle manufacturers wishing to participate in one or more FIM World Championships. With reference to the FIM Superbike World Championship, there are rules and requirements which have to be observed and fulfilled. As a result, the required minimum quantity of produced units necessary to obtain homologation are reviewed periodically to run parallel to the motorcycle market.
As an illustration, the FIM and the Superbike Commission have in the past adjusted the minimum quantities of motorcycles to be produced to participate due to the worldwide economic market situation. Such a change was adopted in 2009. Another change was made due to the market situation in 2012 when the market situation for motorcycles in the sport section was of great concern. We have started discussions within the Superbike Commission to modify these numbers. An official announcement will be made by the end of January.
The statement points out the FIM has in recent years adjusted its production requirements to suit the ever-changing motorcycle market. And, of course, it’s in the best interest for the FIM and the motorcycle industry to see more manufacturers competing for the championship. The 2014 season will already see the loss of BMW‘s official factory team, so the addition of EBR and Bimota (which incidentally, intends to use a BMW S1000RR engine in its BB3 superbike) would be welcome news.
The FIM will make an official announcement about any changes to the production regulations by the end of January, which is convenient as the first homologation deadline to be eligible for the season opener at Phillip Island is Jan. 31.