Funnily enough, the machine that changed most through 2010 World Superbike may well have been the motorcycle that started out almost exactly as it ended 2009 – the factory Ducati.
Factory-spec exhausts gave a little more power compared to 2009 WSBK, with the ever-updated ride-by-wire system helping the riders control it.
The only big twin in WSBK racing has internal engine architecture of 106 mm x 67.9 mm, making it a torque monster at low and medium revs, despite the adoption of 50mm air restrictors, which are fitted by superbike regulation.
The Ducati Superbike engine is fuelled by a Magneti Marelli Marvel4 EFI unit, and spits petrol via IWP 162 + IWP 189 injectors into each inlet tract. The top power (at the crankshaft) is a claimed 200CV 11,000rpm.
With two reductions of the weight penalty for twins coming along through the year, the Ducati superbikes went from 168kg, to 165kg, then to their current allowable 162kg.
The official WSBK Ducati team claimed it was still just less than a kilo heaver than the 162kg which was possible.
A full titanium Termignoni exhaust replaced the steel one used in the earlier WSBK rounds, plus lighter fork outers, a smaller battery and a smattering of other titanium parts helped get the 168kg down to 162.8kg.
Öhlins pressurised suspension was all leading edge on the Ducati Superbike: TRVP25 or TTX25 forks with 42mm diameters. The rear shock was the RSP40 unit, with a top-out damper fitted.
Brakes on the superbike were Brembo all the way, with radial P4X34-38 callipers and 320mm floating discs. The rear disc was a 218mm diameter floating version, with a P2X34 calliper.
The Althea Ducati, which won three WSBK races in the hands of Carlos Checa in 2010, was of a similar spec to the factory superbike machines, but used customer level Öhlins suspension, and was not quite as light when the rules allowed the drop to 162kg.
Still a devastatingly effective weapon in the right hands, the Ducati took six wins in 2010 WSBK in all, and was second in the Manufacturers’ Championship.