MotoAmerica Raises Minimum Weight Of Ducati V4 R In Stock 1000 (Updated)

MotoAmerica Raises Minimum Weight Of Ducati V4 R In Stock 1000 (Updated)

© 2020, Roadracing World Publishing, Inc. By David Swarts.

The Ducati Panigale V4 R must now weigh a minimum of 180 kg (396 pounds), up from 170 kg (374 pounds), when competing in MotoAmerica Stock 1000 and MotoAmerica Superbike Cup classes, according to MotoAmerica Competition Bulletin 04-2020, issued Friday, June 12.

PJ Jacobsen, riding a Celtic HSBK Racing Ducati Panigale V4 R, was the runaway winner of the Stock 1000 race and Superbike Cup races (for selected riders on Stock 1000 machines) May 30-31 at Road America. But when Jacobsen returns to Road America June 26-28 for round two, his Ducati will have to carry 22 pounds of ballast to meet the new minimum weight limit.

“There were a multitude of people involved in this discussion,” Chuck Aksland, COO of MotoAmerica, told Roadracingworld.com. “The circumstances are unusual because generally you would not look to balance a bike over one race. You would do it over two races for the size of our schedule [12 Stock 1000 races and 20 Superbike Cup races], but because of the way our calendar changed [due to the COVID-19 shutdown] the [first] two races are at the same track [Road America].”

Road America is a 4.048-mile-long track with three top-gear straightaways.

“We always knew going in that if that bike [Ducati Panigale V4 R] was going to perform well it was going to be at that racetrack,” said Aksland. “We don’t really know what it’s going to do at Road Atlanta or Laguna. We’ve heard different stories.

“We know other riders had the choice to ride [the Ducati Panigale V4 R] and chose to ride other brands because of that uncertainty. But given we are going back to the same place and the discrepancy in what PJ was able to do lap time-wise, we thought we needed to do something to start that balancing process, and we thought the weight would be the best way to start.”

Aksland said the current rules also give MotoAmerica the right to adjust maximum allowable engine RPM to balance the performance of motorcycles in the class.

“We’re not happy,” Celtic HSBK Racing co-owner Barry Gilsenan told Roadracingworld.com. “Road America, I feel is not a fair representation of the tracks in the series. If you look at what World Superbike did they have very complicated algorithms to determine performance balancing, and in that they wait four or fives races in order to have enough data to create that algorithm. We’re jumping the gun. We went to one race and they’re slapping on 22 pounds without any data from any other tracks.

“Let’s get to Road Atlanta and Pittsburgh and you’re going to have a much better idea of where the bike is. If you go back to Barber [Motorsports Park, during the official MotoAmerica pre-season test] and you look at the times at Barber compared to the other Stock 1000 bikes there wasn’t much of a difference.

“Unfortunately, we go to Road America back-to-back, and that’s part of the way they’re looking at it, too. If we had gone to COTA, Road Atlanta, VIR, I think they would have waited — and I think they should have waited, but there seems to be a lot of backlash from our results at Road America. So, they felt they had to do something.”

This change to the MotoAmerica rules only affects the Ducati Panigale V4 R in Stock 1000 and Superbike Cup, which is only open to motorcycles running Stock 1000 specifications.

A Ducati Panigale V4 R entered in MotoAmerica Superbike can still be run at or above the existing minimum weight limit of 168 kg (370 pounds).

 

 

 

More, from a press release issued by Celtic HSBK Racing:

Celtic HSBK Racing’s Official Response to Minimum Weight of Ducati V4R in Stock 1000

Mladin won the AMA title 7 times with more wins and poles than any other rider in the history of the series.

Carmichael once won all 48 motos in a season.

McGrath won 7 out of 8 years in the Supercross Championship.

Every sport has had a Mladin, a Carmichael, an athlete that was better and when he got on a better piece of equipment that suited his strengths, he truly shined. Penalizing greatness is contrary to why we show up to race in any motorsport championship. To penalize an athlete, to penalize a brand, to penalize a design for having made an impeccable product is beyond comprehension. With Road America’s long straights, sweeping corners, 4 miles of track and an uphill finish the Ducati is at its best.

At the start of every race season both team principals of Celtic HSBK Racing sit down with their attorney’s and analyze the rule book, the classes, the riders competing and build a business model to give their sponsors the biggest bang for their buck possible. We are 100% funded through our sponsors. We do not receive any funding from manufacturers and work extremely hard to get sponsor buy-in for the packages and team we build.

Based on the rule book we decided that PJ Jacobsen on a Ducati in the Superbike Cup would be the best way for our team to provide value to our sponsors. Both rider and machine are well suited to the Stock 1000 class and would get additional media coverage in the Superbike races. PJ Jacobsen meets all rider criteria for the class and despite grumblings otherwise, we did not have to appeal to MotoAmerica to grant him entrance. As many of our fans know, last year he had a successful 600 season and we knew he was ready to make a step up. He had attempted to race a 1000 in a previous season, but unfortunately it wasn’t yet his time to shine in that class.

Our ultimate goal is for PJ to follow the path Jake Gagne, Josh Herrin, and Mathew Scholtz have taken in MotoAmerica and graduate from Stock 1000 to Superbike. In 2015 when MotoAmerica took over from DMG and introduced the Stock 1000 class, HSBK Racing fielded the Aprilia RSV4 with a plan to do much the same. The team had numerous second place finishes crossing the line nearly 25 seconds after first place. There was no balancing of the bikes to close the gap.

We acknowledge that MotoAmerica has the prerogative to balance the bikes. We do however ask that they define the exact issue they hope to solve with these 22 pounds and future measures. We have already seen the goal post move once. If we spend a month testing the safety of adding copious amounts of weight to a compact machine, we cannot afford to have the goal posts move again. Adding nearly 20% of the riders weight to a meticulously engineered bike is one thing, but when will it stop if he continues to shine in the Stock 1000 class?

Our understanding is that this type of decision is typically based on engineering algorithms and data from multiple tracks. We have not seen this information yet. We have not seen or heard what 22 pounds will do to the bike definitively. Not at a big power track and certainly not at a tight track where handling will likely be greatly impacted. We have not heard an engineer say that these changes will accomplish x, y, z to level the field and that it will not compromise the safety of the rider. Without that are we just addressing the best bike out of the crate with the best rider?

We are not in this sport to promote mediocrity. It is our understanding that this series lives on to promote excellence in American RoadRacing. We have seen a shift of manufacturers stepping out of the sport. If we want more factory support in our paddock, we can’t disincentivize manufacturers from building the stock bikes that customers want. If we want them to promote their brand through our sporting body, we can’t penalize their machinery that follows the rules. We can’t penalize them when the right privateer and the right rider come together.

The team will be filing an official appeal to this decision.

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