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GP Week : 29-Apr-2008
M oto GP news >> US Superbike racing as it stands is in serious jeopardy, and future US racing looks set to take another step even further away from the world of MotoGP, following the announcement of radical revision plans by the new owners of American road-racing, the Daytona Motorsports Group. Still only at the proposal stage, the plans throw technical regulations for the immediate future of top-level US racing into a state of confusion. The main thrust of the changes is to reduce power, speed and cost of racing machines. The current 1000cc AMA Superbikes, which basically conform to World Superbike rules, will be tolerated for a while longer, but isolated in a newly- named class as ‘Literbikes’. A new class, Daytona Superbike, will be created for 750 machines of strictly limited power – a low 130 bhp, along with control tyres and ECUs, and a ban on factory parts. Edmondson said that events, and the public, could decide between Literbikes and Daytona Superbikes which was the premier class. DMG spokesman and CEO Roger Edmondson put the plans to teams at the Barber Raceway AMA round, leaving shocked faces at factory teams. In the DMG vision, these would become redundant. Edmondson also played the safety card in his presentation, saying that the performance of modern Superbikes had outgrown the US circuits. Most tracks were unwilling or unable to make a big investment in safety improvements to match performance levels of Superbikes, with current horsepower levels exceeding 200 horsepower. DMG is associated with the France family which owns Daytona, which had already moved towards reducing the emphasis on all-out speed. The classic Daytona 200- Mile race was switched from Superbikes to lower-spec street-based Formula Xtreme in 2005. This was to quell fears of tyre problems with ever-increasing speed on the circuit’s famous banking. Superbikes at risk in US future plans 500cc World Champion Kenny Roberts could have continued racing beyond his retirement if he had received qualified medical advice! Misunderstanding of the same arm-pump problem that has struck current MotoGP star Jorge Lorenzo was directly responsible for ending legendary triple-champion Kenny Roberts’s career prematurely at the end of 1983. The American told GP Week: “I thought it was because I wasn’t training enough, so I just trained harder. “That made it worse. But for that, I could have carried on one or two years more ..." Roberts could have raced on If current plans come to fruition America's Superbike class could be similar to the current Supersports category. 13