World Superbike to Allow 1200cc Twins in 2008. You’re Welcome, Ducati.

Ever since the introduction of the 1098, Ducati has been asking the FIM for a change in Superbike rules to allow twins a displacement of 1200cc’s. And the FIM has agreed to such a change.

According to the FIM, starting in 2008 twin cylinder bikes can have a maximum displacement of up to 1200cc, but will have a slight weight penalty over 4 cylinder bikes (4 kg) and must be fitted with air restrictors. The FIM further states that, if needed, the size of air restrictors and the minimum weights may be changed during the course of the championship.

Troy Bayliss won the 2006 World Superbike Championship on a 2 cylinder, 1000 cc Ducati, beating the 4 cylinder bikes convincingly. Tho he’s not leading the 2007 championship at the moment, Bayliss has won a number of races this year on, yes, a 2 cylinder, 1000 cc Ducati.

It appears the Ducati 999 is still quite competetive. I’ll grant you that the 999 is probably at the end of its development cycle, and the Japanese fours probably have a ways to go in development. But I have to wonder, what’s going to happen when the Duc’s are allowed to run another 200cc’s? The 1098 is just that….1098cc’s. Why did the FIM allow a full 100cc’s more than the production bike? And does Ducati really need such an advantage over the other bikes in order to remain competitive?

Ducati’s have won 12 World Superbike Championships since the series began. That’s far more than any other manufacturer. Next in line is mighty Honda, with 5 championships. It can be argued that Ducati’s displacement advantage over the 750 fours had a lot to do with that.

In the past couple of years, with the four cylinder bikes now allowed to match the Duc’s displacement, we’ve seen Japanese machinery become more competetive with the Italian bikes, and Suzuki and Troy Corser winning the championship in 2005. In 2007, so far, it looks like James Toseland on a Honda will probably take the championship.

World Superbike has been extremely competitive and exciting to watch in the past few years, with no bike/rider dominating the series as in past years. I like that. I hope the FIM’s decision to give Ducati a performance advantage doesn’t screw it up.

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