For decades, motorcycle manufacturers have been trying to shed weight from their machines. The introduction of cutting edge materials such as various alloys and carbon composites, as well as designing components to have much higher tolerances has, for the most part, achieved this.

All that being said, a lightweight bike’s benefits could be negated by a slightly heavier rider, and indeed, this has been the topic of debate in the WorldSBK for some time now. In particular, current WorldSBK Champion Alvaro Bautista, who’s also on his way to take the top spot for the current season has been the subject of scrutiny, especially from rivals who are slightly heavier set than he is. BMW racer Scott Redding has voiced his concerns about Alvaro Bautista’s weight advantage, or lack thereof, given that the Spanish rider tips the scales at just 56 kilograms (123 pounds) and stands at 5ft 5in (1.69 meters). 

Alvaro Bautista weighs a whole 22 kilograms (49 pounds) less than Scott Redding, who weighs in at 78 kilograms (171 pounds) and stands at six feet tall. To address the disparities in rider weight, Redding called for a minimum weight to be established, but the Superbike Commission initially dismissed the idea. This time around, however, it appears that this could actually be a thing for the 2024 season and upcoming seasons moving forward. Following the announcement, Bautista took to social media platform X to voice his opinion, going as far as calling the decision an "anti-Bautista" law. 

 

The Superbike Commission officially announced that it will be implementing a so-called minimum combined weight limit starting the 2024 season. This means that smaller riders, like Bautista, will be able to compete without having to rack up the calories or put on excessive muscle, but race engineers will have to make up for this by adding some weight onto the bike. At present, the minimum weight hasn’t been announced, so we’ll have to stay tuned for that.

2022 WSBK Season Opener

The 2024 season will also welcome a variety of technical changes including reduced fuel tank capacity from 24 liters to 21 liters. Additionally, it’s expected that starting the 2025 season, fuel flow control systems will be mandated for all bikes. As such, for the 2024 season, at least two bikes from each manufacturer will need to have fuel flow meters for data collection purposes. There will also be new engine speed limits imposed in time for the 2024 season. From a technical standpoint, we’re looking at giving or take a 20-percent modification in crankshaft and balancing shaft weight.

All of these technical revisions are set to undergo approval by the Permanent Bureau. Furthermore, there will be a WSBK Commission meeting on October 28, 2023, to further discuss “sporting and disciplinary changes.”

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