Superbike racing is a category of motorcycle racing that employs modified production motorcycles. Superbike World Championship is the worldwide superbike championship. Many countries such as the United Kingdom the United States, Japan, and Canada operate national superbike championships. Superbike racing is very popular with manufacturers, since it helps promote and sell their product. “Win on Sunday, Sell on Monday” is very relevant in Superbike racing.
Characteristics of Superbike racing motorcycles
Superbike racing motorcycles are derived from standard production models. While rules vary from series to series, in general the motorcycles must maintain the same profile as their roadgoing counterparts. The overall appearance, seen from the front, rear and sides, must correspond to that of the bike homologated for use on public roads The frame cannot be modified. Teams can modify elements of the bike such as the suspensions, brakes, swingarm, and the diameter and size of the wheels.
Superbike racing motorcycles must have four stroke engines of between 800cc and 1000cc for twins, and between 750cc and 1000cc for four cylinder machines. The World Superbike Championship as well as many national championships have changed their rules to allow twins of up to 1200cc to compete from 2008.
For a bike to be eligible for Superbike racing the manufacturer must first homologate the model and manufacture the required number of roadgoing machines.
Differences between a Superbike and a MotoGP bike
Superbikes are based on standard production models, MotoGP bikes on the other hand are propotype machines that bear little resemblance to production machines. One might consider that a MotoGP bike is related to a Superbike in the same way that a Formula One car is related to a Touring car.
The analogy is imperfect, however; while a touring car could never compete with a Formula One machine, the performance gap between a Superbike and a MotoGP bike is much smaller. MotoGP bikes develop approximately 230 bhp, and reach top speeds of 340 km/h while superbikes develop 220 bhp and reach speeds of 320 km/h. Based on lap times from circuits where both MotoGP bikes and Superbikes race, superbikes are 2-3 seconds per lap slower than MotoGP bikes. This means that a number of superbikes would be able to easily qualify for a MotoGP race.
Superbike World Championship
Main article Superbike World Championship
Once regarded by the public as the poor cousin to the more glamorous MotoGP championship, Superbike World Championship has grown over the years into one of the top professional road racing series in the world. Many of the rider that competed in SBK over the years are household names among motorcycle racing fans. The most successful rider SBK history is 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, with the Italian manufacturer winning 14 times. Honda has won it 4 times, with Suzuki claiming one championship. Australia's Troy Bayliss won the 2006 title riding for Xerox Ducati and James Toseland, from the UK, was the winner of the 2007 championship riding for Hannspree Ten Kate Honda.
National Superbike series
National Superbike series vary greatly in challenge and popularity, the most popular being in Britain and North America. Both Japan and Australia have well supported national superbikes series, though they only run for short, 10-race seasons.
British Superbike Championship
Main article British Superbike Championship
The British Superbike championship (known to most as "BSB") is the leading motorcycle racing championship in the United Kingdom. It is managed and organised by MCRCB-Events. The commercial and television rights have been delegated to DORNA UK , part of the Dorna Sports group which is the commercial and television rights holder of MotoGP. Ducati, Kawasaki, Suzuki and Yamaha all have well supported teams, while Honda has the only HRC supported superbike team outside of Japan. Japanese rider Ryuichi Kiyonari won both the 2006 and 2007 titles riding for HM Plant Honda
AMA Superbike Championship
Main article AMA Superbike
The AMA Superbike is the premiere superbike racing series in the United States. It is part of the AMA Pro Racing series, and it is managed by the AMA. Starting in 1976 it is 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 is the current champion riding for the Yoshimura Suzuki team.
All Japan Superbike Championship
Main article All Japan Road Race Championship
The All Japan Road Race Championship, also known as MFJ Superbike is the premiere motorcycle road racing championship in Japan and is run by MFJ. The championship started in 1967 and has been running a superbike class since 1994. The series runs a small 7 round schedule but has a large field of Japanese riders and bikes. Atsushi Watanabe won the 2007 championship riding a Yoshimura Suzuki.
Parts Canada Superbike Championship
Main article Parts Canada Superbike Championship
The Parts Canada Superbike Championship is the Canadian national Superbike series. The series runs from May to September and consists of six to eight rounds per season. Riders from the Canadian series often compete in AMA Superbike during the Canadian off-season. Jordan Szoke won the 2007 title riding for the Canadian Kawasaki Factory Road Race Team.
- Australian Superbike Championship (Australian national championship)
- Championnat de France Superbike (French national championship)
- China Superbike Championship (Chinese national championship)
- CIV Superbike (Italian national championship)
- IDM Superbike (German national championship)
- AMA Superbike official site
- Australian Superbike official site
- Motorcycling Australia (MA)- Australian Governing Body
- British Superbike official site
- Parts Canada Superbike Championship official site
- Fédération Internationale de Motocyclisme Superbike World Championship Regulations
- Superbike Photos (Creative Commons License)
- List of Superbike champions, including for national series