Characteristics of Superbike racing motorcycles
The worlds first ‘Superbike’ was built by the legendary brothers Ross and Ralph Hannan in the mid/late 70’s. First ridden successfully in Australia and overseas, including the Suzuka 8 hour and the Bol d’Or 24 hour endurance races, by kiwi Graeme Crosby who went onto International success and was eventually inducted into the NZ sports “Hall of Fame”.
Superbike racing motorcycles are derived from standard production models, so for a bike to be eligible, the manufacturer must first homologate the model and manufacture the required number of road-going machines. While rules vary from series to series, in general the motorcycles must maintain the same profile as their road going counterparts, with the same overall appearance as seen from the front, rear and sides. In addition, the frame cannot be modified. Teams may modify some elements of the bike, including the suspensions, brakes, swingarm, and the diameter and size of the wheels.
Superbike racing motorcycles must have four-stroke engines of between 850 cc and 1200 cc for twins, and between 750 cc and 1000 cc for four cylinder machines.
The restriction to production models distinguishes Superbike racing from MotoGP racing, which uses prototype machines that bear little resemblance to production machines. This is somewhat similar to the distinction in-car racing between touring cars and Formula One cars, though the performance gap between Superbike and MotoGP racing is much smaller.
Superbike World Championship
Superbike World Championship (also known as SBK) is the premier international superbike Championship. The championship was founded in 1988. It is regulated by the FIM and managed and promoted by FGSport.
Once regarded as the poor cousin to the more glamorous MotoGP championship, the Superbike World Championship has grown into a world-class professional racing series. Many of the riders that competed in SBK over the years are household names among motorcycle racing fans. The most successful rider thus far has been England’s Carl Fogarty, who won the championship four times (1994–95, 1998–99). Ducati has been the most successful manufacturer in the series over the years, accumulating 15 manufacturer championships.
Honda has won it 4 times, with Suzuki claiming one championship. Australia’s Troy Bayliss won the 2006 and 2008 titles riding for Xerox Ducati and James Toseland, from the UK, was the winner of the 2007 championship riding for Hannspree Ten Kate Honda.
AMA Superbike Championship
The AMA Superbike is the premier superbike racing series in the United States. It is part of the AMA Pro Racing series, and was managed by the AMA until 2009 when the AMA sold the series to the Daytona MotorSports Group. Originally launched in 1976, it is now the longest running superbike championship.
The series allows more engine modifications than most Superbike championships. Australian Mat Mladin has dominated the AMA Superbike championship in recent years winning 6 titles since 1999. 2006 MotoGP champion American Nicky Hayden won the 2002 championship. Texan Ben Spies won the 2008 championship riding for the Yoshimura Suzuki team, before moving on to the World Championship to ride for Yamaha.
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