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May 3, 2018

​MotoAmerica: New Junior Cup Balancing Regulations Announced At VIR

MotoAmerica Junior Cup racer Jay Newton (left) getting the maximum rpm limit turned up on his Yamaha YZF-R3 Thursday at MotoAmerica Technical Control at VIR. Photo by David Swarts, copyright Roadracing World Publishing, Inc.

Following FIM’s lead, MotoAmerica today at VIRginia International Raceway announced changes to the balancing regulations for the Liqui Moly Junior Cup class.

The following changes to the Junior Cup were announced:

The Kawasaki Ninja 400 had a maximum rev limit of 12,000 rpm, and that has now been reduced to 9,850 rpm.

The KTM RC 390 and RC 390 R had a maximum rev limit of 11,000 rpm, and that has now been reduced to 10,000 rpm.

The Yamaha YZF-R3 had a maximum rev limit of 12,850 rpm, and that has now been raised to 13,000 rpm.

The Honda CBR500R had a maximum rev limit of 9,500 rpm, and that has now been raised to 10,000 rpm.

Also, the Honda CBR500R had a minimum weight limit of 156 kg (343 pounds), and that has been lowered to 153 kg (337 pounds).

In addition, the Yamahas can now have modifications made to the airbox, including removing material from the cover of the air filter, shortening both air funnels, and removing the rubber intake tube.

And the Hondas can also have modifications to the airbox, including opening up the intake snorkel and air filter cover and shortening the air funnels.

These changes go into effective this coming weekend during the MotoAmerica event at VIR, and teams with Yamahas were seen all around the paddock modifying their airboxes.

The changes are in response to the strong performance of riders on the new Kawasaki Ninja 400 and KTM RC 390 R and the relatively poor performance of riders on the Yamaha YZF-R3 during the first two rounds of the FIM Supersport 300 World Championship and the opening round of the MotoAmerica Junior Cup.

For reaction to the moves, spoke with various MotoAmerica Junior Cup stakeholders Thursday at VIR.

“I think it’s a start,” said Ken Hill, Team Manager for Rickdiculous Racing, which fields Gauge Rees on one of the many Graves-built Yamaha YZF-R3’s in MotoAmerica Junior Cup. “The Kawasaki is still going to come off the corners the same, and I don’t think the hit on the KTM is enough. And then there’s the handling that hasn’t been addressed. But it’s a start.”

“We’ll see if it’s enough after the first qualifying session,” said Mike Pond, owner of Tuned Racing, which fields Hunter Dunham and Joseph Blasius on Graves-built Yamaha YZF-R3’s in Junior Cup. “They had to do something fast. A lot of these kids their parents are pretty much mortgaging their houses to afford to be here, and if this doesn’t work there may not be many R3’s on the grid by the end of the year.”

“I’m all for trying to make it fair,” said Bob Robbins, co-owner of the Quarterley Racing/On Track Development team, which fields Jamie Astudillo and Dallas Daniels on Kawasaki Ninja 400s. “I hope that dumbing down our bikes that much doesn’t hurt them too much.

“I also have to say that I was a proponent of keeping the KTM RC Cup the way it was, with everyone racing on the same motorcycles. I just don’t want a rider’s recognition taken away because they are on the bike of favor.”

“I think it’s a tough class to regulate with all of the bikes having different displacements,” Chris Fillmore, KTM North America Flat Track and Road Racing Team Manager, said in a telephone interview. “FIM had the [Supersport 300 World] Championship going. They have a couple of new bikes this year, and they are trying to follow a global format. We just have to deal with it. Time will tell if the competitive balancing does balance it.”

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