Superbike racing is a category of motorcycle racing that employs modified production motorcycles. Superbike World Championship is the international superbike championship, and national superbike championships are held in many countries as well, including the United Kingdom, the United States, Japan, and Canada. Superbike racing is very popular with manufacturers, since it helps promote and sell their product, as captured by the slogan "Win on Sunday; Sell on Monday".
Characteristics of Superbike racing motorcycles
Superbike racing motorcycles are derived from standard production models, so for a bike to be eligible, the manufacturer must first homologate the model and manufacture the required number of roadgoing machines. While rules vary from series to series, in general the motorcycles must maintain the same profile as their roadgoing counterparts, with the same overall appearance as seen from the front, rear and sides. In addition, the frame cannot be modified. Teams may modify some elements of the bike, including the suspensions, brakes, swingarm, and the diameter and size of the wheels.
The restriction to production models distinguishes Superbike racing from MotoGP racing, which uses prototype machines that bear little resemblance to production machines. This is somewhat similar to the distinction in car racing between touring cars and Formula One cars, though the performance gap between Superbike and MotoGP racing is much smaller.
The worlds first 'Superbike' was built by brothers Ross and Ralph Hannan in the mid/late 1970s. First ridden successfully in Australia and overseas, including the Suzuka 8 hour and the Bol d'Or 24 hour endurance races, by Graeme Crosby who went onto International success and was eventually inducted into the NZ sports "Hall of Fame".
Superbike World Championship
Superbike World Championship (also known as SBK) is the premier international superbike Championship. The championship was founded in 1988. It is regulated by the FIM and managed and promoted by FGSport.
Once regarded as the poor cousin to the more glamorous MotoGP championship, the Superbike World Championship has grown into a world-class professional racing series. Many of the riders that competed in SBK over the years are household names among motorcycle racing fans. The most successful rider thus far has been England’s Carl Fogarty, who won the championship four times (1994–95, 1998–99). Ducati has been the most successful manufacturer in the series over the years, accumulating 15 manufacturer championships. Honda has won it 6 times, with Suzuki claiming one championship. Australia's Troy Bayliss won the 2006 and 2008 titles riding for Xerox Ducati and James Toseland, from the UK, was the winner of the 2007 championship riding for Hannspree Ten Kate Honda.
National Superbike series
National Superbike series vary greatly in challenge and popularity, the most popular being in Britain and North America. Both Japan and Australia have well supported national superbikes series, though they only run for short, 10-race seasons.
British Superbike Championship
The British Superbike championship (known to most as "BSB") is the leading motorcycle racing championship in the United Kingdom. It is managed and organised by MCRCB-Events. The commercial and television rights have been delegated to MotorSport Vision. Ducati, Kawasaki, Suzuki and Yamaha all have well supported teams, while Honda has the only HRC supported superbike team outside of Japan. Japanese rider Ryuichi Kiyonari won the 2006, 2007 and 2010 titles riding for HM Plant Honda.
AMA Superbike Championship
The AMA Superbike is the premier superbike racing series in the United States. It is part of the AMA Pro Racing series, and was managed by the AMA until 2009 when the AMA sold the series to the Daytona MotorSports Group. Originally launched in 1976, it is now the longest running superbike championship. The series allows more engine modifications than most Superbike championships. Australian Mat Mladin has dominated the AMA Superbike championship in recent years winning 6 titles since 1999. 2006 MotoGP champion American Nicky Hayden won the 2002 championship. Texan Ben Spies won the 2006-2008 championships riding for the Yoshimura Suzuki team, before moving on to the World Championship to ride for Yamaha.
All Japan Superbike Championship
The All Japan Road Race Championship, also known as MFJ Superbike is the premiere motorcycle road racing championship in Japan and is run by MFJ. The championship started in 1967 and has been running a superbike class since 1994. The series runs a small 7 round schedule but has a large field of Japanese riders and bikes. Atsushi Watanabe won the 2007 championship riding a Yoshimura Suzuki.
Parts Canada Superbike Championship
The Parts Canada Superbike Championship is the Canadian national Superbike series. The series runs from May to September and consists of six to eight rounds per season. Riders from the Canadian series often compete in AMA Superbike during the Canadian off-season. Jordan Szoke won his 4th consecutive title in 2009, riding for the Canadian Kawasaki Factory Road Race Team.
- Irish Road Racing Championship (Irish national championship on closed roads)
- Australian Superbike Championship (Australian national championship)
- Championnat de France Superbike (French national championship)
- China Superbike Championship (Chinese national championship)
- Campeonato Español de Velocidad (Spanish national championship)
- CIV Superbike (Italian national championship)
- IDM Superbike (German national championship)
- CitiBike Motorcycle Championship (South Africa)
- New Zealand Road Race Championship
- Dutch Superbike Kampioenschap
- "MSV takes over BSB". crash.net. Retrieved 2008-02-20.