The technical changes recently announced by the FIM will have both "a positive and interesting impact on the World Superbike series in 2003," believes Foggy Petronas Racing's acclaimed Team Manager, Nigel Bosworth.

The introduction of 1000cc four-cylinders, as opposed to the previous 750cc level, has come in to play a year earlier than originally anticipated but Bosworth feels, "This is a positive step for World Superbikes as it will open up the competition and allow for even more exciting racing. It will also enable more teams to enter the series due to the reduced restrictions on four cylinder bikes."

"However, in order to make racing fairer in 2003 as the four-cylinder 1000cc's were not due to be permitted until 2004, I believe they will need to run with some form of handicap during the 2003 season to restrict the power."

"The current proposal to achieve this is to restrict the air flow through the air intake, but this will need to be managed very closely by the FIM as there are a number of ways, mechanically, that you can compensate for the reduced air intake to increase the power again."

"One possible solution could be to place a restriction mechanism directly onto the injector body diameter as this is something which cannot be compensated for in other ways."

The second rule change sees the previously unlimited tyre allocation limited to thirteen slick rear tyres at each event for use during free practices, qualifying practices and Superpole, although if a rider is given a red flag during a superpole lap for reasons beyond that rider's control, they may be allowed an additional rear slick.

"Limiting the number of tyres is a good idea in the long run as it will require tryes to have improved quality and durability, but also make testing and selection more defined to some degree," commented Bosworth. "I don't think this will cause any problems for established teams who have experience with a range of tyres, but could potentially be a slight obstruction for new teams and chassis such as ours, as they won't have the same opportunity to assess as many different tyres and compounds to establish those that best suit different chassis and circuit set-ups."

When a superbike is on its side, such as in an accident situation, the 'tilt switch' should activate and cut off the fuel feed so that the bike's engine cuts out after a few seconds for safety.

Recent changes to regulations state however that the electric fuel pumps must now be wired through a circuit cut-out, which will operate automatically when the motorcycle is on its side.

This circuit cut-out must de-activate the fuel pump and the ignition system within one second which, "is very sensible and necessary from a safety point of view, both for the rider and surrounding spectators and marshals that would be close to the bike in an accident situation," continued Nigel.

"The only down side to the automatic cut-out is that it may take away some excitement from the track action as with this rule, if a rider has an off and the bike lands on its side, an uninjured rider will not be able to jump back on their bike and re-join the race, which spectators always love to see."