History unfolds as a new era shifts into gear at Phillip Island Grand Prix Circuit

By February 8, 2024 WorldSBK

History unfolds as a new era shifts into gear at Phillip Island Grand Prix Circuit

WorldSBK By February 8, 2024

The 2024 MOTUL FIM Superbike World Championship is set to kick off with a bang, and for many reasons, this season opener is set to be one of the biggest yet with major changes coming to the grid.

With so many talking points heading into the Grand Ridge Brewery Australian Round, it is hard to know where to begin when discussing the major changes you need to earmark. From major team shake ups and rookies showing some serious pace, new rules, a new look event schedule, a freshly resurfaced Phillip Island Circuit, and a brand new paddock show set up; this will be the biggest year yet!

Major Team Shake Ups… What does the grid look like in WorldSBK?

In a change that shocked many, Jonathan Rea announced that he would be ending his nine year run with Kawasaki, the team whom he won a record six World Superbike titles with, to move over to one of their biggest team rivals Pata Prometeon Yamaha WorldSBK Team. However, the move that made Rea’s switch possible was due to the major team shakeup that started it all, with former Yamaha rider Toprak Razgatlioglu announcing his new signing with the ROKiT BMW Motorrad WorldSBK Team.

Toprak Razgatlioglu taking flight on his new ROKiT BMW Motorrad. Photo credit: WorldSBK

Further down the grid, Rea’s move meant there was a seat up for grabs in the Kawasaki pit, with former Ducati rider Axel Bassani ultimately landing his dream deal as a factory rider in the Kawasaki Racing Team WorldSBK.

Rookies to watch for and new faces to the grid.

While Rookie WorldSBK riders aren’t predominantly on the radar for race wins, that has all changed heading into the 2024 season with reigning World Supersport Champion Nicolo Bulega ruling supreme in pre-season testing in the Aruba.it Racing – Ducati garage. Not only has Bulega dominated the timesheets to surpass his teammate and two-time World Superbike Champion Alvaro Bautista, but he has dominated the overall timesheets throughout pre-season testing; Making Bulega a serious Championship contender in 2024. 

Joining the rookie status hunt this season will also be the newly joined Elf Marc VDS Racing team will see Sam Lowes, identical twin brother to Kawasaki Racing Team’s Alex Lowes, make the switch from Moto2 to WorldSBK. Sam’s presence on the grid will also mark the first time the twin-duo will race together on an international stage.

Photo Credit: WorldSBK

 

New rules that hope to bring the field closer than ever before

With World Superbikes ever evolving, there are some major rule changes coming into effect this season, with possibly one of the bigger talking points around new minimum weight limits. While the minimum bike weight is equal for everyone at 168kg, the difference in riders weight can vary around 30 kilograms. Unanimously, all manufacturers reached an agreement that will see a minimum reference rider weight of 80kg with all race gear on; whoever is below that reference weight will have to add 0.5 kilograms of ballast to their machine.

Fuel capacity limits have also changed. A fuel capacity limit of 21 litres will start this season and fuel flow control coming in for 2025 after data has been collected throughout the 2024 season.

RPM limits have also changed, with every manufacturer having what they ended 2023 with, except Ducati, who start 2024 as they started in 2023. This means that Kawasaki’s RPM limit will be 15,100; Ducati at 16,100; Yamaha at 15,200; BMW at 15,500; and Honda at 15,600.

Change up in the WorldSSP Schedule meaning bigger Friday action

There’s been a few changes to the schedule in World Superbike that mainly affect the Supersport category. The Schedule change will see World Supersport now only have one Free Practice session to get their machines dialled in, before their single Superpole session now taking place on Friday afternoon at 14:55. But, there’s more. The World Supersport Superpole session times will only determine the grid for the Top 9 of Race 1, with Race 2’s starting position now determined by the Top 9’s fastest lap time during Race 1.

Don’t miss a second of the action from the 2024 MOTUL FIM Superbike World Championship, Grand Ridge Brewery Australian Round – 23 – 25th February 2024.
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