Pit Shadow

Fast Bikes - - PIT PASS -

I’m a get­ting con­cerned right now at the fu­ture of the Su­per­sport classes. It of­ten pro­vides the best rac­ing of a week­end in WSB, and nearly ev­ery week­end in BSB. How­ever, with only MV Agusta and Yamaha bring­ing out ‘new’ Su­per­sports ma­chines, and not much else on the hori­zon, there’s a limit to how long it can go on.

Upon moon­light­ing at a BSB round ear­lier in the year, I was as­ton­ished to see just how old many of these bikes were. Look un­der the flashy fair­ings, es­pe­cially the more pri­vate af­fairs, and you see some se­ri­ous race mileage on them. Which is why you see this Spirit cre­ation from Tony Scott, in the hands of Alas­tair See­ley, do­ing the odd round in the Bri­tish se­ries. Un­able to score of­fi­cial points, the bike has done quite well. With a gen­tly fet­tled Tri­umph 675 engine in a Moto2 style chas­sis, and See­ley at the helm, it quite rightly should be do­ing good things. So, what’s the prob­lem?

The prob­lem for me, is that the Moto2 route is be­ing mooted in the UK, but un­less Stu­art Higgs and his bunch work mir­a­cles, I can’t see how it’s sus­tain­able or even vi­able. The Spirit it­self, were you to buy one, is about the same price as a Du­cati Su­per­leg­gera! Never mind bud­get for the rest of the year, crash dam­age on so on.

Okay, you could make it a one engine class and put fi­nan­cial lim­its on the chas­sis side of things to se­verely re­duce costs, but over in my GP pad­dock Moto2 was sup­posed to do the same thing – yet by the end of the first year, the top teams had spent nearly half as much as they ever had on the ‘ex­pen­sive’ Aprilia RS250s, and the costs in Moto2 have done noth­ing but go up ever since. This can­not hap­pen in BSB.

The sim­ple truth is that right now, more than half the cur­rent Su­per­sport grid could not af­ford to race for an en­tire sea­son even if it was a ‘bud­get’ Moto2 se­ries. Again, I’ve come to ex­pect mir­a­cles from Higgs and Co, and they may yet surprise me, but I’ve an­other worry – the rac­ing in Moto2 just isn’t of­ten very good.

We’ve been lucky this year as we’ve had three close and in­ter­est­ing Moto2 races, in­clud­ing Aragon. But over the past few sea­sons these are few and far be­tween, and I des­per­ately don’t want one of the most en­ter­tain­ing classes to end up be­ing the same the world over. When it comes to pro­duc­tion based se­ries, I hon­estly think it should re­main as such. Yes, a naked class has been mooted, but I be­lieve there’s an­other op­tion.

Du­cati make the Pani­gale 959, MV the F3 800 and Suzuki the GSX-R750 (I hear a new ver­sion is coming). Then there’s ru­mours of a 765 Day­tona, given the engine slots nicely into the cur­rent 675 chas­sis. That’s up to four bikes, all with sim­i­lar per­for­mance traits. Make this the new Su­per­sport class, and I’d bet you’d see a re­turn of the 750 bikes from some man­u­fac­tur­ers like Kawasaki and Yamaha. It’d al­most be forc­ing man­u­fac­tur­ers’ hands, but there are plenty of sports­bike buy­ers out there who don’t want a 600 or litre bike, but some­thing in be­tween. Yes, as al­ways I’m dream­ing, but I’m also con­vinced I’m right and it should keep those close, hard fought bat­tles alive and kick­ing too – who’s in?!

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