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Jan 17, 2014

Dorna WSBK Issues Statement On Possible Bimota Homologation; EBR Says They Are Ready To Go

Late last year it was announced that Bimota had been purchased by new owners Marco Chiancianesi and Daniele Longoni, who told the world they planned to rejuvenate the 40-year-old brand starting with its newest model, a BMW-powered streetbike dubbed the BB3.

Earlier this month, Bimota and Alstare announced they had entered a long-term partnership that included, among many things, plans to go racing as Bimota Alstare Racing team with Ayrton Badovini and Christian Iddon riding the new BB3 in the new EVO class of the 2014 FIM Superbike World Championship. But that press release included a note that the Bimota BB3 was still subject to homologation approval by FIM.

This last announcement combined with the known homologation requirements for the 2013 FIM Superbike World Championship led to questions on whether Bimota, always a low-volume manufacturer of high-end exotic sportbikes, would be able to produce enough BB3 streetbikes to meet minimum homologation requirements.

According to the 2013 FIM Superbike World Championship rulebook, section 1.2.1. “Homologation for Superbike, Supersport and Superstock:”

A manufacturer must have produced at least a quantity of 125 motorcycles prior to the homologation inspection. 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.

And there are further regulations to be met regarding the timing of requesting a homologation inspection, providing proof and documentation before the homologation inspection, how soon the new model can race after it passes homologation inspection and more.

A 2014 FIM Superbike World Championship rulebook has not yet been published on the FIM website, however.

With the season-opening race of the 2014 Superbike World Championship scheduled February 21-23 at Phillip Island, in Australia, five weeks from today, it would seem Bimota has a nearly impossible task ahead of it.

But today, the Dorna WSBK Organization, the rights holders of the FIM Superbike World Championship, issued a statement "about the possible Bimota homologation." The statement indicates minimum production numbers to homologate a new model for racing may change prior to the start of the 2014 season, indirectly giving Bimota a glimmer of hope of racing at Phillip Island.

That statement reads: “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.”

With all of the talk about Bimota’s status in terms of homologation, where does Erik Buell Racing (EBR) stand in terms of producing and homologating its new 1190RX streetbike, the basis of its World Superbike racing effort?

“We’re on track. We’ll be fine,” EBR Founder Erik Buell told Roadracingworld.com January 17. “They [FIM homologation inspectors] are scheduled to be here next week. We’re ready for the inspection, holding the bikes for them so we have them all lined up.”