2009 AMA Superbike Championship Rules Announced

Henny Ray Abrams | July 19, 2008

MONTEREY, CA, JULY 19: After three months of wrangling, we’re back where we started…almost. The class structure released by Daytona Motorsports Group for the 2009 AMA Superbike Championship contains three classes, two of which are identical to what was released by the DMG back in April and one new class. The difference between the proposal made by the DMG at Barber Motorsports Park and now is that the final DMG proposal adds a 1000cc class. Prior to the DMG takeover, the factories and the AMA had agreed to drop Superstock, while retaining two 600cc classes. The primary classes are Factory Superbike, American Superbike, and Daytona Superbike. Factory Superbike will run under the rules agreed to by the factories back in the summer of 2007. That was the original request of the OEM’s, but DMG added the caveat that each factory guarantee four machines to ensure a reasonably sized grid. That requirement has been dropped and some believe that could imperil the survival of the class. If the new structure is not embraced by the factories, and at the moment it’s unclear how many will support it, the possibly exists of very small grids. Factory Superbike will be the only one of the three classes which doesn’t require a control tire and will allow open testing. DMG said the plan is to adapt FIM World Superbike rules by 2011, which are expected to be much more restrictive than current rules. “Works bikes, salaried star riders, rules written by and requested by the manufacturers, special tires, no-holds barred superbike racing by the strongest teams in America…..what more could a racing fan ask for?” DMG CEO Roger Edmondson said in a press release issued with the new rules. “It will be a shooting war among the big guns and the meek need not apply.” The decision to add Factory Superbike is controversial in that it flies in the face of Edmondson’s earlier assertion that current AMA Superbike venues are becoming increasingly incapable of handling the speeds of liter class machines. American Superbike is the second liter bike class, though with far more restrictions than Factory Superbike. The rules are stricter than for the current Superstock class and skew towards FIM Superstock 1000cc Cup. The class will run on a control tire and control fuel, both yet to be determined. All approved machines and after-market parts will be homologated, and must be available to all competitors and testing will be limited to reduce costs. The class will feature SuperPole qualifying for the ten fastest riders in timed practice. American Superbike gives properly licensed riders two places to race their 1000’s, but it won’t help pump up the grid for Factory Superbike, a function currently served by Superstock. The rules state that motorcycles entered in American Superbike can’t race Factory Superbike. However, because of the vast performance gap, the American Superbikes will be much less competitive. Daytona Superbike will run with power-to-weight and horsepower restrictions which the factories have consistently resisted. Though mainly for 600cc four-cylinders, it will allow any machine that fits the formula and is expected to draw a disparate collection of machinery, including 675cc triples and up to 1200cc twins. The same machine and homologation restrictions are in place. Daytona Superbike will also feature SuperPole qualifying, limited testing, single tire and fuel suppliers. Moto-ST and the Red Bull Rookies Cup will run at selected events. No purse structure was released. Provisional rules have been released with the Official Rule Book to be published in September.

Henny Ray Abrams | Contributing Editor

Abrams is the longest-serving contributor at Cycle News. Over the course of his 35-some years of writing and shooting photos, he’s covered events from MotoGP to the Motocross World Championship - and everything in between.