World Superbike bosses have announced the introduction of a new support series that will see riders as young as 15 compete on board 300-500cc road bikes.
The class will be known as Supersport 300, even though Honda's CBR500R will be eligible to enter. Other bikes homologated for the first season are the KTM RC 390, Kawasaki Ninja 300 and Yamaha YZF-R3.
Limited tuning will be allowed for the bikes, with a minimum weight being introduced to balance up the various capacity bikes. That means that the Kawasaki and Yamaha will need to tip the scales at a minimum of 140kg, while the 200cc larger Honda must carry an extra 10kg. Interestingly, the KTM has a minimum limit of 136kg, which makes it look the most potent weapon - especially considering it was the fastest bike around the track when we tested the 300-400cc class bikes last year. The FIM, the sport's governing body, have said that they reserve the right to introduce rev limits if one model proves dominant in the championship.
Speaking about the new class, FIM President Vito Ippolito said: “This new platform will be the perfect environment for developing future talent. The intention of WorldSSP 300 is to create a benchmark for National Championships to follow. We want to offer an environment that is regulated and relatively equal in which future talent can grow, and where manufacturers can accompany young riders as they take their first steps towards stardom.”
A2 licence bikes are a regular fixture in many national championships, but these are typically one-make series, with the KTM RC 390 Cup taking place in the UK and USA, while a Yamaha R3 class runs in Australia, among other countries. The new world championship is the first attempt to create a unified class for the various models, and create a low cost entry into the world championships.
“The focus is to have an affordable series for these young competitors,” said Javier Alonso, WorldSBK Executive Director. “There has been great interest for low-capacity motorcycles in this sport and the new WorldSSP 300 class strives to offer that. It will be promoted by manufacturers as an easily accessible championship, the best possible platform to grow future stars where manufacturers can accompany riders from an early age and as they progress through their career.
There is no new yet of which rounds the new series will take place at but, as it is aimed at creating a reduced cost championship, we expect that it will support world superbikes at selected European rounds only.