Big changes are coming to the MotoAmerica racing series for next year! They have announced there will be changes to its class structure for the 2018 season with the addition of three new classes and the rethinking of two others.
First, what is going away: The 2018 season will see the demise of Superstock 1000 and Superstock 600 with those two classes no longer incorporated into the Motul Superbike and Supersport classes. The Motul Superbike class will be just that beginning in 2018, Superbikes only. The official explanation given for this change is help fans avoid confusion with regard to what rider is racing in a given class. It is a valid point – with the Superstock bikes being run at the same time as the premier class, there often just isn’t a great degree of separation between them. Not having two classes on the track at the same time makes sense. The Stock 1000 class becomes the feeder to Superbike, giving riders a chance to gain experience on the liter class machines.
The big news, is what is being added: A new Twins class will be introduced, and it promises to make for good racing. Machines can range in displacement from 600 to 850 cc, with appropriate weight penalty applied to the larger displacement bikes. This particular segment is hot with motorcycle consumers, and serves to promote the Win On Sunday, Sell On Monday idea that manufacturers are sure to like. The rules for this class are exceptionally broad, as it relates to suspension and brake modification. Because these machines are already very popular with club racers, grids are more likely to stay full.
What is currently known as the KTM Cup spec racer class will grow into the Junior Cup. The class will continue to have an age limit, though that will now change from 14-22 years old to 14-25 years old. Four machines have been homolgated to race – Honda CBR500R, Kawasaki Ninja 300, Yamaha YZF-R3, and the KTM RC390. The Suzuki GSX250R is pending homologation, but almost certainly will be in the fray as well.
This change will likely reduce what it costs to race, as the Japanese machines are less expensive to acquire, and maintain. The rules for this class are extremely restrictive about modification to the bikes, and will use weight penalty and rev limit strategies to even them out. Make no mistake, though, the kids riding them will quickly figure out which bike gives them the best chance to win.
The last bit of news for the 2018 season is sure to get a lot of riders and teams attention – more than $1,000,000 in prize money, with more than $775,000 earmarked toward the Motul Superbike class. Racing is an expensive business, and having that kind of money on the line could be the thing that keeps the top level teams competing, and potentially lures in even more for a shot.
Next year promises to be the year that Wayne Rainey’s mission really comes to fruition, that American Superbike racing returns to the prominence it enjoyed when he raced, both here in states and overseas.