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Reflecting on ASBK Technical rule changes and conundrums

ASBK Tech Talk

It is concerning to hear that technical breaches have again come to light with Supersport machines sold to other competitors, who then have found the bikes to have illegal modifications. These breaches are only coming to light now after bikes were purchased by other riders to race in subsequent seasons went in for freshen ups ahead of season 2023.

It is not possible to apply penalties retrospectively as the breaches were discovered outside of competition. It must be acknowledged that even though the small modification to the cylinder head is unlikely to have made a significant difference to any race results on the track, if any bike was found to be illegal during competition and the rider disqualified,then it would have certainly changed the outcome of any round where the technical breaches were discovered.

Since much time has passed and it cannot be proven that the engines have not been tampered with since the bikes were last raced, and the bikes have potentially passed through many hands, we have decided to keep names out of this piece as no official judgements have been made, nor can they be.

At the end of the day, if you sell your race bike at the end of the season when you know that bike is illegal, that’s pretty dumb.  It is extremely likely that you would subsequently be found out down the track.

This leaves purchasers of motorcycles found to be in breach of technical regulations out of pocket to the tune of many thousands of dollars in order to make their machine legal ahead of season 2023, often that includes the purchase of a new cylinder head. Indeed, some are scrambling to do exactly that now in order to be ready for the looming ASBK Test sessions at Sydney Motorsports Park this week.

It is important for buyers to conduct thorough inspections and due diligence before purchasing a used race bike, to ensure that it is compliant with regulations and to avoid costly repairs or penalties down the road. Buyer beware… The onus is on the entered rider and his team to make sure that their bike meets the regulations set by the governing body.

But then that raises another dilemma, who can you trust to do these inspections and engine freshens? There are some well known engine builders who have had more than one engine of theirs found to be illegal. Hopefully as they have now been shown to be repeat offenders they won’t still be doing it. And racers will not be taking their engines to them…

Race teams themselves might not be aware of these breaches, and particularly in regards to many family run teams. Often they have nobody in their trusted inner circle with the requisite technical skills to put their own minds at rest by inspecting the engine internals.

It is important for competitors to be cautious when choosing an engine builder, especially if the builder is claiming to have the fastest engines on the grid. This can be a red flag, it’s important to be diligent in researching engine builders and their reputation, and to ensure that the engine builder and the team are following the rules and regulations set by the governing body.

This can be a challenging situation, particularly for family-run teams that are relatively new to the sport and may not know who to trust for guidance.

Newcomers to the sport may also be at risk of getting caught up in cheating, which can have a negative impact on their experience in the sport which leads to them leaving motorcycle racing for other pursuits.

Additionally, stricter measures such as engine log books, licensing of engine builders, and increased inspections could also perhaps help to prevent illegalities and protect the integrity of the sport.

This all costs time, and money, two things pretty much everyone in the sport has little of to spare…

More policing of the technical rules also costs the governing body more time and money, which leads to increased entry fees. Bit of a vicious circle really with no easy answers…

From the Australian Supersport 600 rules…

The following OEM parts may be modified:

a) Engine cam wheels may be slotted or replaced to alter valve timing,

b) Gearbox drive dogs may be undercut,

c) Cylinder head valve seats may be re-cut,

d) Cylinder head and cylinder block mating surfaces may be machined.

Some of the best riders Australia has ever produced were purposefully given below average machinery to race on by their parents, forcing them to adapt and work hard, rather than make excuses.

Harrison Voight dominated the final round of the 2022 Australian Supersport Championship powered by a standard YZF-R6 engine that had never had its rocker cover off. If you are fast enough then you don’t need to chase tiny gains that start pushing the boundaries of the rules.

Supersport 300

The issue of cheating in the smaller Supersport 300 category of ASBK has been even more of an ongoing concern in recent years, and it has led to some competitors leaving the sport altogether.

Some believed cheating was so rife within the class they have packed up their bags here and chose to race overseas. When competitors are found with such obvious and blatant breaches as larger diameter throttle bodies and major porting, it is not hard to see why they deemed the category corrupt. Hopefully things have got a little cleaner within the class over the past 12 months…

Unless you are in the well controlled Asia Talent Cup or Red Bull Rookies Cup competitions, then heading overseas carries even more risk and expense.

We have kids paying €100,000 or more to race dumbed down Moto3 bikes in European competitions. That is before you pay for any travel or day to day living expenses. You are looking at over $200,000 AUD to put a youngster on a reasonable bike for a year in Europe by the time training, food, and accommodation costs are also accounted for.  And how many years do you then have to budget doing that for…? One year is always going to be a waste of time, so you willing and able to commit 200k+ a year in funding for the next few years…? Where do you draw the line, half a million? A million?

Anyway, back to Australia… All possible solutions to our own problems here in Supersport 300 come with additional costs and time for competitors, officials, and the whole governing body itself.

Cheating is nothing new in any category and has been going on since racing first started, and probably always will.

Motorcycling Australia’s Technical Staff already have an even bigger workload this year with the introduction of new combined rider and weight regulations for the Supersport 300 category, getting the new SuperTwins category up and running, and that’s before we even start talking about the policing of electronics in Superbike…

Supersport 300 minimum weights for each model is as follows:
Brand Hard Minimum Soft Maximum Bike and Rider Weight*
KTM RC 390 140 kg 153 kg 205 kg
Ninja 400 145 kg 158 kg 210 kg
YZF-R3 (all) 140 kg 153 kg 205 kg

a) Combined weight is the weight of the rider (in full racing equipment) and bike, as used on track.

b) If the bike has achieved or exceeded the “Soft Maximum Weight” then the combined minimum weight does not need to be reached. The bike alone may never at any time be below the “Hard Minimum Weight”. This limits the maximum amount of ballast that can be added to the machines.

c) At any time during the event, the weight of the whole motorcycle (including the fuel tank and its contents) must not be lower than the minimum weight.

d) There is no tolerance on the minimum weight of the motorcycle or rider.

e) During the technical inspection at the end of any race, selected motorcycles and riders will be weighed in the condition they finished the race, and the listed weight limit must be met in this condition. Nothing may be added to the motorcycle. This includes all fluids.

f) During practice and qualifying sessions, riders may be asked to present their motorcycle to technical control for weighing. Failure to comply with any part of this ASBK Regulation will result in the matter being referred to ASBK Race Direction for further action and penalties.

g) The use of ballast is allowed to stay over the minimum weight limit and may be required due to this handicap system. The use of ballast and weight handicap must be declared to the ASBK Chief Technical Officer during Technical Inspection.

They are the new rules, but looking at this table of weights will leave a few that have been around the paddock for a long time scratching their heads…. Kids are now racing bikes twice as heavy as the 125 GP bikes they would have been starting out on 20 years ago, is this progress?  I don’t think so, but in this new all four-stroke world this is the direction the sport has headed around the globe so what other choice do we have…


The introduction of the SuperTwins category in the 2023 ASBK season brings new motorcycle models to Australian racetracks, including the Yamaha YZF-R7, Aprilia RS660, Suzuki SV650, and Kawasaki Ninja 650.

However, the RS660 may have a significant advantage, so performance balancing measures may need to be implemented during the season to level the playing field.

Aprilia RS660

Or we could end up like the 250 Production days where essentially the whole field ends up on the most competitive model of motorcycle. That in itself is probably not a bad way to go, but this new category helps bring more Kawasaki and Suzuki involvement back to ASBK, which is a good thing and certainly one of the factors behind this new class joining ASBK in 2023.

The starting minimum weight for each model has been set, with the Aprilia RS660 at 172kg, the Yamaha R7 at 165kg, the Kawasaki Ninja 650 at 165kg, and the Suzuki SV650 at 165kg.

Let’s hope this class can be kept affordable and competitive. Fingers crossed some racers that otherwise would have not raced at ASBK rounds join the competition via this fledgling new category.

Testing Ban Extension

The testing window before rounds is bigger this year than in previous seasons, with riders not allowed on racetracks within 14 days of a race meeting getting underway at that same circuit.

Let’s get this party started…

Now, with some of that dirty laundry aired and behind us, let’s get down to business this week at the two-day Sydney Motorsport Park Official ASBK Test.

But who is missing…?

As we reported this morning, Daniel Falzon is sitting this year out.

Anthony West has stated that he will not race ASBK this year, and we have the likes of 2010 champ Bryan Staring and triple Superbike champ Glenn Allerton still without confirmed rides.

Wayne Maxwell has retired.

Jed Metcher is only expected to compete at certain rounds.

Lachlan Epis is going to concentrate on the Asian Road Racing Championships.

Sounds like the timing is right for some young guns to step in to the breech……

Sydney Motorsport Park Official ASBK Test
Official Schedule

Sydney Motorsport Park, NSW – Official ASBK Test – Official Schedule
Wednesday, February 1
12.00 13.00 Sign-On (All Classes) Sign-On 60 mins
12.00 13.00 Technical – Motorcycle Safety Checks Technical 60 mins
13.00 13.20 Riders Briefing (ALL) Briefing 1 20 mins
14.00 14.15 bLU cRU Oceania Junior Cup Practice 1 15 mins
14.20 14.45 Michelin Supersport (inc. SuperTwins) Practice 1 25 mins
14.50 15.15 Dunlop Supersport 300 – Yamaha Finance R3 Cup Practice 1 25 mins
15.20 15.45 Alpinestars Superbike Practice 1 25 mins
15.50 16.05 bLU cRU Oceania Junior Cup Practice 2 15 mins
16.10 16.35 Michelin Supersport (inc. SuperTwins) Practice 2 25 mins
16.40 17.05 Dunlop Supersport 300 – Yamaha Finance R3 Cup Practice 2 25 mins
17.10 17.35 Alpinestars Superbike Practice 2 25 mins
17.35 18.30 Dinner Break – ASBK Media 55 mins
18.30 18.45 bLU cRU Oceania Junior Cup Practice 3 15 mins
18.50 19.15 Michelin Supersport (inc. SuperTwins) Practice 3 25 mins
19.20 19.45 Dunlop Supersport 300 – Yamaha Finance R3 Cup Practice 3 25 mins
19.50 19.55 Lighting System – Safety Check   5 mins
19.55 20.20 Alpinestars Superbike Practice 3 25 mins
20.25 20.40 bLU cRU Oceania Junior Cup Practice 4 15 mins
20.45 21.10 Michelin Supersport (inc. SuperTwins) Practice 4 25 mins
21.15 21.40 Dunlop Supersport 300 – Yamaha Finance R3 Cup Practice 4 25 mins
21.45 22.10 Alpinestars Superbike Practice 4 25 mins
Thursday, February 2
8.30 8.45 bLU cRU Oceania Junior Cup Practice 1 15 mins
8.50 9.15 Michelin Supersport (inc. SuperTwins) Practice 1 25 mins
9.20 9.45 Dunlop Supersport 300 – Yamaha Finance R3 Cup Practice 1 25 mins
9.50 10.15 Alpinestars Superbike Practice 1 25 mins
10.20 10.35 bLU cRU Oceania Junior Cup Practice 2 15 mins
10.40 11.05 Michelin Supersport (inc. SuperTwins) Practice 2 25 mins
11.10 11.35 Dunlop Supersport 300 – Yamaha Finance R3 Cup Practice 2 25 mins
11.40 12.05 Alpinestars Superbike Practice 2 25 mins
12.05 12.35 Lunch 30 mins
12.35 12.50 bLU cRU Oceania Junior Cup Practice 3 15 mins
12.55 13.20 Michelin Supersport (inc. SuperTwins) Practice 3 25 mins
13.25 13.50 Dunlop Supersport 300 – Yamaha Finance R3 Cup Practice 3 25 mins
13.55 14.20 Alpinestars Superbike Practice 3 25 mins
14.25 14.40 bLU cRU Oceania Junior Cup Practice 4 15 mins
14.45 15.10 Michelin Supersport (inc. SuperTwins) Practice 4 25 mins
15.15 15.40 Dunlop Supersport 300 – Yamaha Finance R3 Cup Practice 4 25 mins
15.45 16.10 Alpinestars Superbike Practice 4 25 mins
16.10 17.00 All Teams & Riders to Exit the Circuit by 5pm Pitlane 50 mins
All Times Listed are Australian Eastern Daylight-Saving Time (NSW local time)

2023 ASBK Calendar

2023 ASBK Calendar
Round Circuit Location Date
Test Sydney Motorsport Park NSW Feb 1-2
R1 Phillip Island Grand Prix Circuit VIC Feb 24-26
R2 Sydney Motorsports Park NSW Mar 24-25
R3 Queensland Raceway QLD Apr 28-30
R4 Hidden Valley Raceway NT Jun 16-18
R5 Morgan Park Raceway QLD Jul 14-16
R6 Phillip Island Grand Prix Circuit VIC Oct 27-29
R7 The Bend Motorsport Park SA Dec 1 – 3

2023 mi-bike Australian Superbike Championship presented by Motul (ASBK)


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