WorldSBK

Ducati, Kawasaki rev limits unchanged for 2020 WorldSBK

Ducati will not get to return to its original start rev limit after FIM releases its final regulations for the 2020 WorldSBK season

Ducati’s rev limit reduction introduced four rounds into the 2019 WorldSBK Championship will remain in place for the start of the 2020 WorldSBK season, it has been confirmed.

The new Ducati Panigale V4 R made its debut in Australia last year with a starting rev limit of 16,350rpm but this was reduced four rounds into the season by 250rpm to 16,100rpm on the back of a dominant start to the season in the hands of Alvaro Bautista.

The tweak remained in place to the end of the 2019 season despite Bautista ultimately being overhauled by Kawasaki’s Jonathan Rea for the title.

With this in mind, it wasn’t clear whether Ducati would be permitted to return to its original status ahead of the 2020 WorldSBK season. However, the FIM has now confirmed both Ducati and Kawasaki will start the year with the same start rev limit, the latter pinned at 14,600rpm.

Meanwhile, the starting rev limits for the new Yamaha R1 reveal these have been upped slightly from 14,700rpm to 14,900rpm, while the new Honda CBR1000RR-R will be 15,600rpm. BMW remains unchanged at 14,900rpm.

The FIM reserves the right to amend these over the course of the season in the interest of balance of performance.

Blow for Ducati ahead of 2020 WorldSBK season?

There are a number of people who associate Ducati’s (or rather, Alvaro Bautista’s) startling failure to lose a title it looked to be marching towards with the change in the rev limit regulations, but it is a rather simplified excuse.

Ducati came out of the box remarkably quickly with 11 wins from the opening 11 races, but Bautista’s slump in form was more to do with a lessening confidence on the Panigale V4 and his nose-heavy riding style once he began crashing.

Indeed, even with the pin back the Ducati was still immensely quick in terms of top speed with Bautista and Chaz Davies at times able to dismiss rivals two or three at a time down a long straight on some occasions. In the end the victory tally between Ducati and Kawasaki was similar at 17 versus 19, so altering the formula was perhaps always unlikely.

Trouble for Ducati is that its strengths are in an area – engine - where the FIM can ultimately peg it back, compared with the Kawasaki, which seemingly offers the best balance and handling of any machine on the WorldSBK grid. However, it starts 2020 on a clearer footing than 2019 when it had to make the changes between races.

Meanwhile, it will be interesting to see whether Yamaha can do anything with its increased in revs having struggled for outright performance in 2019, while the FIM will likely watch Honda very carefully to check it has its balance of performance correct with few reference points to go on from its lean recent campaigns.

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