The FIM has issued a statement in response to Bimota's plans to enter the World Superbike Championship in 2014, insisting that a formal decision to allow its participation is still being discussed.
Earlier this week iconic Italian marque Bimota revealed its intention to enter the World Superbike Championship in 2014 with a pair of EVO-specification machines prepared by former title-winners Alstare for riders Ayrton Badovini and Christian Iddon.
However, whilst the unexpected announcement was certainly welcomed, questions were instantly raised with regards to the eligibility of the Bimota BB3 Superbike, a low volume machine that would likely struggle to meet the current production quota as set by the FIM for official homologation.
Indeed, despite the significant press attention Bimota received with its announcement, the FIM and Dorna had been notable in not publishing the news on the official World Superbike website.
As such, the FIM has released the following statement, clarifying that discussions are ongoing and hinting that there is the potential for the rules to be amended. A formal decision is due later this month.
“The FIM welcomes new motorcycle manufacturers wishing to participate in one or more FIM World Championships. With reference to the FIM Superbike World Championship, there are rules and requirements which have to be observed and fulfilled. As a result, the required minimum quantity of produced units necessary to obtain homologation are reviewed periodically to run parallel to the motorcycle market.
“As an illustration, the FIM and the Superbike Commission have in the past adjusted the minimum quantities of motorcycles to be produced to participate due to the worldwide economic market situation. Such a change was adopted in 2009. Another change was made due to the market situation in 2012 when the market situation for motorcycles in the sport section was of great concern. We have started discussions within the Superbike Commission to modify these numbers.
“An official announcement will be made by the end of January.”
As it stands, the current FIM homologation rules for Superbikes are:
- The manufacturer must have produced at least a quantity of 125 motorcycles prior to the homologation inspection (this number may be adjusted upwards in 2013, for 2014 models). The motorcycle must be on sale to the public at that time.
- The minimum quantity of 500 units must be reached by the 30th June of the current year.
- The minimum quantity of 1000 units must be reached by the 31st of December of the current year.
- The minimum quantity of 2000 units must be reached by the 31st of December of the following year
Should Bimota be allowed to participate, it will become the ninth manufacturer to submit an entry for the 2014 World Superbike Championship, though Alstare team manager Francis Batta did reveal to GPOne.com
that any potential debut would be delayed until the second or third events in April at the earliest.