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Maybe the Evo class is the future for WSB?

Thu, 05 May 2011

Did we see the future of World Superbike racing last weekend at the BSB event?

Possibly, but only if everyone is on Evo spec machines in 2012. By setting the 2nd fastest lap in race one and running second for a while in race two, the brilliant Alex Lowes proved that with a good grid position an Evo spec machine can be competitive for part race distance at least.

He dropped back as the laps went by (possibly due to the electronics banned from Evo machines that help with tyre management) but he proved Evo machines can deliver fast lap times up front. Alex rides for the well-funded WFR Honda team who employ first class staff and riders (Lowes, Richards and Gowland).

They have enjoyed substantial pre-season testing and have the best turned out Evo Fireblades that money can buy. Barring injuries, WFR will easily finish top three in the Evo championship and probably top twelve in the main series. I’m a big fan of this concept but unless everyone is on Evo bikes I can’t see the point.

They deliver plenty of horse power but without traction control and the like, no matter how good the rider is, victories at the moment (wet or dry) are unlikely. Put everyone on them however, limit the revs and superbike racing would be sensible money - all the manufacturers can be involved and the racing would be close. I haven't spoken to any rider that would miss the electronics.

There are only twenty riders on the grid now in World Superbikes and with many seriously considering a jump to the new 1000cc class in Moto GP next year (fourteen new teams have applied) this might the answer. When Yamaha has no title sponsor in WSB or Moto GP and Suzuki are also struggling to compete in both series maybe the Evo class could take the pressure off and allow them to continue in both?

By Niall Mackenzie

See also: Do you remember Honda's EVO Blade?, Roland Sands glamour shoot video, Morocco by bike.