2017 MotoAmerica Rules Changes

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MotoAmerica, home to the AMA/FIM Superbike Championship, has just announced its technical rule changes. If you’ve been in-tune with American road racing, you might be aware that technical rules have been a delicate issue as of late.

From the MotoAmerica Superbike Championship’s onset in 2015, the original intent was to move toward FIM homologation, in respect to technical rules. That would mean that the MotoAmerica technical rules would mirror WSBK, IDM, CEV, and other leading international racing leagues.

The 2017 racing year’s rules have been released, and it appears that MotoAmerica is making good on its promise in regards to Superbike. The introduction of rules that fall in line with road racing abroad is a massive step in the right direction.

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This year we’ve seen many international riders come to MotoAmerica and having commonalities when it comes to bikes could encourage more riders traveling between leagues—at least that is the feeling being exude by many in the paddock. Bringing in new talent, as well as allowing the current crop to grow and move into the world stage, is what made American road racing great not all that long ago.

What is surprising is that the MotoAmerica staff has also instituted provisional rule changes to the Superstock 1000 category, with an effort to make the performance gap narrower between the Superstock 1000 and the Superbike class.

From where I sit, I’m not so sure the Superstock needed any help, considering that riders like Aprilia HSBK pilot Claudio Corti are consistently battling with Superbikes. Also, Corti isn’t alone when it comes to competing with the Superbikes.

This raises some important questions for races teams, all of which have to do with finances. A Superbike program compared to a Superstock program is separated by quite a bit of money. On the lower end, we could be talking hundreds of thousands and on the upper end, millions of dollars.

Could the closer performance gap encourage independent teams to shy away from the already narrow Superbike grid? Could the lower cost of investment and higher probability of being competitive be an unintended consequences? Additionally, will these closer tolerances between classes encourage or discourage manufacturer support? On the other hand, all of these changes could encourage Superbike growth and renewed manufacturer interest throughout the field. Only time will tell if any of these speculations ring true.

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There have been extensive changes to both Superbike and Superstock 1000, but it appears that Supersport and Superstock 600 will remain as is. “The rules for both the Supersport and Superstock 600 classes for the most part will be the same,” said MotoAmerica Technical Manager James Morse. “Hopefully, we will see enough riders make the move from Superstock 600 to Supersport so we can split those two classes. As for the Superbike class, having our rules in line with World Superbike will be beneficial to that class by attracting more manufacturers to participate.”

The 2017 AMA/FIM North America Superbike rulebook governing the MotoAmerica series will go into effect upon the official release of the 2017 FIM Superbike World Championship Rulebook.

“From the outset, our plan has been to move our Superbike rules to match those used by the World Superbike Championship,” said MotoAmerica partner Chuck Aksland. “With a few minimal differences, we’ve actually been able to accomplish this quicker than we thought. The rules have proven to work well in the World Championship so moving toward those as quickly as possible was important to us for our growth as a domestic Superbike Championship. The alignment with the World Superbike Championship provides an easier route for manufacturers to participate in the MotoAmerica Series. Development resources can now be shared across multiple championships. The same parts developed for the World Championship can now be used here in MotoAmerica and vice versa.”

“In addition,” Aksland continued, “the changes we’ve made to the Superstock 1000 rules were made to give those teams and riders the freedom to make some changes that will help them get closer to the Superbikes, performance-wise with minimal cost. Ultimately the goal is to separate the two championships, but until that time comes, we’d like the field to be as competitive as possible. We’ve seen a few times this year that the Superstock 1000 machines were not that far away. With a few more modifications, we hope to see the gap close up a bit on track to the Superbikes.”

2017 MotoAmerica Superbike Class Rule Changes | Fast Facts

Numbers And Number Plates
No specific background or number colors will be required.

Fuel-Injection Systems
The addition of fly-by-wire systems will not be allowed. Throttles must remain as homologated. No modifications to the variable intake track adjustment device, if equipped.

Ignition And Electronic Control System
2014 American Superbike Kit not legal for 2017.

Main Frame
One-bike rule with complete spare motorcycle.

Front Suspension (Using World Superbike-Capped Components)
Forks can be replaced.

Swingarm
Swingarm can be replaced.

2017 MotoAmerica Superstock 1000 Class Rule Changes | Fast Facts

Frame Body And Rear Sub Frame
Frames will follow Superbike rules.

Front Forks
The upper and lower fork clamps (triple clamp, fork bridges, and stem) may be modified or replaced.

Swingarm
Swingarm must remain as originally produced by the manufacturer for the homologated motorcycle with the following changes: Gussets and bracing may be added. A provision for shock absorber and spring clearances is allowed. The range of axle adjustment may be modified by machining existing components. Any modifications to the swingarm assembly must be pre-approved by MotoAmerica.

Rear Suspension Unit
The rear suspension linkage may be modified or replaced. Removable top shock mounts may be replaced. If replaced, they must retain their homologated geometry.

Fuel Tank
Superbike fuel tanks will be allowed.