Should WorldSBK have a combined rider and bike weight limit?

After this seasons WorldSBK racing there are serious conversations about a combined rider and bike weight limit to try to level the playing field.

Alvaro Bautista - Ducati
Alvaro Bautista - Ducati

The reasons these conversations have begun are because of the Alvaro Bautista and Ducati combination in WorldSBK. This year the Spanish rider and the Italian bike have been unbeatable when in a straight line. 

The top three riders in the WorldSBK standings have been closely matched all year. However, many have argued that the defining difference for Bautista was that he had the highest revving and most powerful bike on the grid and that he weighs a total of 66kg with all his riding kit on.

Should WorldSBK have a combined rider and bike weight limit?

Jonathan Rea, Alvaro Bautista, Toprak Razgatlioglu
It has been clear to see this year that Bautista had the ability to pass his rivals at will when in a straight line. This is something that last year the larger Scott Redding was unable to utilise as much as Bautista. This means the weight of the rider must come into account when it comes to acceleration.

It is undeniable that Bautista has been riding the Ducati in quite a brilliant manner. If the Ducati was an all-conquering bike that was unmatchable everywhere then Michael Ruben Rinaldi would not be down in fourth in the standings. Bautista’s ability and talent is the deciding factor for how he won the title on a Ducati.

Should there be a WorldSBK weight limit?

It has become concerning for the series officials that many races this season were decided by a horsepower advantage. With World Supersport and World Supersport 300 already having a combined weight limit Scott Smart, the series technical director is in favour of a combined weight limit.

Should WorldSBK have a combined rider and bike weight limit?

Scott Redding - BMW WorldSBK

Other World Superbike riders such as Redding have been rather vocal about how they want a weight limit to be added to World Superbikes to level the field when it comes to straight line advantages.

Bautista is 18kg lighter when you compare his weight in his riding kit to the likes of Jonthan Rea and Toprak Razgatlioglu. It is reported that Rea and Razgatlioglu weigh 84kg and 78kg each when in their riding gear. Some of Bautista’s rivals have admitted that Bautista was a better-quality rider this season than he was in 2019, so his weight advantage was not the only reason he won races and the title.

Should WorldSBK have a combined rider and bike weight limit?

Toprak Razgatlioglu - Pata Yamaha
If a rider and bike weight limit was to be added it most likely will not be added for 2023, but instead for 2024. There have been mixed opinions on if a weight limit should be added as MotoGP does not have one, so why does the premier Superbike championship need one. 

Bautista and the Ducati appeared to be a match made in heaven in 2022. A weight limit should not be able to penalise a rider and a motorcycle for working in perfect harmony as this shows the manufacturer and rider worked hard to create such a strong partnership.

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