Bimota awaits homologation confirmation for renewed WSBK assault

Alstare Racing to field two riders in new EVO category, but question of homologation looms

146 14010 +Alstare Bimota Await Wsbk Homologation+

Shortly after the Belgian team Alstare sealed a five-year partnership with Italian brand Bimota, it was announced that the squad would compete in the World Superbike EVO category in 2014 with Ayrton Badovini and Christian Iddon on the recently unveiled BB3, which features a BMW S1000RR engine on a custom trellis frame. With only six-weeks before the start of the season in Phillip Island, the team led by veteran manager Francis Batta faces the challenge to put together a solid package quickly. However, time constraints arguably do not represent the most urgent issue.

The enthusiastic news comes with a caveat regarding FIM homologation, which is necessary to compete in the world championship. The 2013 SBK rulebook specifically describes the minimum production requirements as follows: 125 units must be produced prior to the homologation inspection; at least 500 units must be reached by June 30th of the current year; at least 1000 units must be reached by December 31st of the current year; and at least 2000 units must be reached by December 31st of the following year.

The purpose of these requirements is to prevent manufacturers from building a spin-off of any of their sportbikes that resembles a prototype rather than a production machine (for example, a much more powerful or lighter "limited edition") and thus alter the balance of the competition. In the past, the former promoter Infront granted some exceptions to replenish the grid and increase visibility, but Dorna is adopting a radically different approach.

The cost-cutting agenda enforced by the Spanish promoter, whose acquisition cancelled any competition with MotoGP (also run by the same company), spurred an increase in the number of teams and riders who take part in the top class. Economic-based incentives were granted for 24 riders, a number that Dorna allegedly reached and does not seem keen to increase. Thus, the promoter adopted a neutral stance and relayed the matter to FIM.

The Swiss-based organization faces somewhat of a conundrum. Its president, Vito Ippolito, and Batta have a solid, long-standing relationship and the addition of yet another brand to the championship after MV Agusta and Buell would increase its diversity and prestige. However, the 2014 rulebook has yet to be released and any hypothetical changes to homologation requirements or special waivers could upset competitors and alter the philosophical and political postulates of the recently introduced EVO category.

To this end, Batta published the news on its company's website, leaving the homologation caveat at the very bottom of the text and stating: "I am very happy and excited about this long-term global project with Bimota. The BB3, designed by Engineer Acquaviva and his team in Rimini, is a fantastic bike and full of potential. We at Alstare are excited to help develop it, get it on the track and unleash the beast within."

As the adage goes, only time, albeit a short one, will tell.