The World Superbike Championship will revert to a 'one-bike per rider' rule from 2012 in an effort to boost grid numbers if plans by Infront CEO Paolo Flammini come to fruition.
Having attracted grids of up to, and occasionally exceeding, 30 riders just three years ago, there are currently just 21 full-time riders competing in World Superbikes as the global economic downturn continues to bite the sport.
As such, efforts to revive numbers are underway with discussions including bringing in a single bike per rider regulation, or changing the bikes to be more akin to a cheaper Superstock, similar to that of the British Superbike EVO division.
For the moment, the single-bike rule appears most likely to be adopted, with Flammini telling GPOne.com
that objections to the suggestion have been minor.
“The resistance and objections have been few and many teams that have a single rider now seem to want to double their presence for 2012,” Flammini said.
"Certainly there will be some changes in approach from the riders. We have seen that many who fell in Supersport have reduced their number of accidents. Maybe teams will now decide on riders that are less accustomed to crash.
"I must say that, in complete contrast with the overall economy, the sport needed a strategy that would allow a saving. With this decision - which will be ratified at Silverstone - the data show us that each team of two drivers will save about 300,000 euros and a team that would go from one to two pilots would spend "only" (so to speak) 200,000 euros more. "
Asked whether there is a risk that some riders would be forced out of race meetings should they destroy their bike, Flammini says most factory are capable of quick turnarounds, while smaller outfits could be given a partially-built second bike on standby.
“We are analysing in detail what to allow. In fact, our concern is not the official team of technicians as they are able to reconstruct a bike in a short time but the private teams that might be in trouble. So we may allow a near-complete bike. "
The single-bike rule is attributed for the turnaround at Supersport level, with grid sizes almost doubling between 2010 and 2011 as a result.