Superbike racing is all about showcasing the latest generation of high-performance four-stroke street bikes, with seven manufacturers set to battle it out for the 2011 world championship – Honda, Kawasaki, Yamaha, Suzuki, Ducati, BMW and Aprilia.
Much more than prototype-based grand prix racing, superbikes have a greater connection to the general public, because people can see the bikes they own being punted around on some of the finest race tracks in the world, including Australia’s very own Phillip Island.
The spectacular Phillip Island has one of the highest average speeds of any circuit in the world, and in the 2010 round Italian Max Biaggi (the eventual world champion) reached 319.8km/h down the main straight on his Aprilia V-four. That’s seriously potent performance.
The championship regulations allow four-cylinder bikes of up to 1000cc, or twins up to 1200cc. At the moment, Ducati is the only marque which is using a twin-cylinder configuration.
In 2011, the minimum weight for both twin-cylinder and four-cylinder bikes will be 165kg.
A superbike must remain in many aspects the same as the bike that can be bought in any dealership, including the body design. To be allowed to enter the world superbike title every manufacturer must produce a minimum quantity of a bike that must also be commercially available to the general public.
The championship also has a control slick race tyre, produced by Pirelli, giving all teams access to the same specification rubber to create closer and more exciting racing than ever before.