WSBK rule makers can't legislate for rider talent

WSBK rule makers can't legislate for rider talent
By: Lewis Duncan , Journalist
Jul 23, 2018, 1:07 PM

World Superbike technical director Scott Smart says this year's rule changes aimed at making the series more competitive cannot legislate for rider talent, as Jonathan Rea continues to dominate.

Jonathan Rea, Kawasaki Racing
Race winner Jonathan Rea, Kawasaki Racing
Podium: race winner Jonathan Rea, Kawasaki Racing
Jonathan Rea, Kawasaki Racing, Michael van der Mark, Pata Yamaha
Jonathan Rea, Kawasaki Racing
Jonathan Rea, Kawasaki Racing
Jonathan Rea, Kawasaki Racing, Marco Melandri, Racing-Ducati SBK Team
Chaz Davies, Racing-Ducati SBK Team, Alex Lowes, Pata Yamaha
Chaz Davies, Racing-Ducati SBK Team
Chaz Davies, Racing-Ducati SBK Team
Chaz Davies, Racing-Ducati SBK Team

WSBK introduced an adjustable rev limit for this season in a bid to stop the continued hegemony of Kawasaki and triple world champion Rea.

As such, KRT's 2018 bike is running to a limit of 14,100rpm – a loss of 1,100rpm from last year, the most of any manufacturer.

Despite a close title battle at the beginning of the season, Rea has since tallied up 10 victories and built up a championship lead of 92 points over second-placed Chaz Davies on the Ducati.

Smart believes the new rev limit has made the races “more exciting” this year, but concedes the performance of Rea means it “doesn't matter” what is done to control bike performance.

“The rev limit was important for various reasons,” Smart told

“In the 2015 season, even I was surprised at how quickly various manufacturers were able to increase revs and improve their performance over the course of the season.

“At the beginning of the season, the races were pretty tight, but later they weren't. We were able to make the races more exciting by setting the rev limit.

“But there are always factors that cannot be controlled, such as the talent of the riders. There are one or two riders in this championship who are simply better. They are very strong every weekend.

"Johnny [Rea] makes very few mistakes. He's constantly fast. So it doesn't matter what we do, he and Chaz are always the riders who stand out in this championship.

“We can bring balance to the motorcycles, but it is of course not possible for the riders.”

Ducati V4 a 'new headache'

Smart feels Ducati's new Panigale V4 it will introduce next year will create a “new headache” for WSBK rule makers, amid fears the road model the race bike will be based on will have increased revs.

While Ducati has yet to present its homologation basis for its new machine, Smart says efforts are already being made to stop the Italian marque from greatly exploiting the rules.

“We tried to accommodate this in the regulations," he said. "There are two parts in the regulations. We look at the power delivery of the standard bike.

“And after this we look at the standard rev limiter of the standard bike. If we just look at the rev limiter, the manufacturers would make a bike with crazy high revs that doesn’t actually fit the character of the engine.

“We are going to look at character of the engine and the standard rev limiter. Whichever gives us the lower figure, we take.

"That is the starting point. And then we can move the starting point.

“We have it in the regulations that if there is a massive imbalance in the preseason we can change immediately before the first race.

“After we started the championship we can change the rpm balance after three rounds.”

Next article
Load comments

About this article

Series World Superbike
Drivers Chaz Davies , Jonathan Rea
Author Lewis Duncan