World Superbike rejects minimum rider/bike weight proposals

The prospect of WSBK adopting a Moto2/Moto3-style minimum weight requirement that effectively levels the playing field between heavier and lighter riders was a major talking point throughout the 2022 season, which was won by Ducati rider Alvaro Bautista.

BMW’s Scott Redding triggered the debate by declaring at Donington Park in July that Bautista’s success against title rivals Jonathan Rea and Toprak Razgatlioglu was down to the Spaniard being among the smallest riders in the paddock.

Bautista rejected that suggestion and made clear his opposition to any attempts to bring in any changes to the weight rules, something that six-time champion Rea also threw his backing behind.

WSBK executive director Gregorio Lavilla strongly suggested last November that a combined rider/bike minimum weight would be adopted by the series in 2024, and could even come into effect as soon as 2023.

However, the FIM has now released a statement saying that any such measure has been «ruled out by the SBK Permanent Bureau», a body made of representatives from both the governing body and series promoter Dorna.

It added: «The WorldSBK Championship is now mature. It is necessary to ensure the continuity of this category and to maintain the technical rules that have made its current success.»

The news will come as a relief to Bautista, who would expected to be the biggest loser in the event of a combined minimum weight rule being imposed. 

There had even been suggestions that the 38-year-old could opt not to extend his current deal with Ducati and hang up his helmet at the end of the 2023 season should the move go ahead.

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