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Triumph, Ducati poised for WorldSSP return as FIM agree new regulations

The faired Triumph 'Street Triple Daytona' 765 and the Ducati Panigale V2 will likely be on the 2022 WorldSSP grid after a regulation shake up is confirmed

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The WorldSSP Championship grid is set to swell in 2022 with fresh factory-backed entries from Triumph and Ducati after the FIM and Dorna agreed on a new regulation framework that will allow more models to compete.

The ‘intermediate’ class has been a mainstay of the WorldSBK package for a number of years but the variety of entries has dwindled in recent years to reflect a market that has contracted amid poor sales.

In recent years several models that would be eligible have dropped off price lists, including the Triumph Daytona, Suzuki GSX-R600 and Honda CBR600RR. The current grid comprises mostly the Yamaha R6 - a bike that is now also only available in track-only RACE trim - plus a smattering of Kawasaki ZX-6R and MV Agusta F3 entries.

As such, the FIM will attempt to inject fresh interest in the series - which is benefitting from the success of its 2020 WorldSSP champion Andrea Locatelli, plus the likes of Lucas Mahias and Michael van der Mark - by expanding the homologation model to include bikes up to 960cc, despite reported protests from Yamaha.

This has been done specifically to permit the 959cc Ducati Panigale V2 to compete, with Barni Racing set to enter with factory backing next year.

In addition, Triumph - which ran a works Daytona 675 programme previously - will return with its part-prototype 765cc triple-cylinder model, essentially a faired version of the naked Street Triple merged with the out of production Daytona 765.

The British firm is currently competing with race-winning success in the British Supersport Championship as a pilot project for the FIM to assess performance balancing, with Simon Buckmaster’s Dynavolt PTR team preparing the entries.

In addition to the two new entries, MV Agusta is expected to ramp up its factory-involvement by ditching the 675cc engined F3 in favour of a more modern 800cc variant.

Meanwhile, the new regulations could inspire a re-think of Kawasaki and Yamaha’s approach.

Kawasaki is believed to be working on a ZX-6R replacement but it is unclear if it will follow the model Yamaha has with the R6 by making it a track-only RR version - like the ZX-10R - or continue with a ‘screamer’ four-pot.

Yamaha, meanwhile, could phase out the R6 in favour of the anticipated new R9 using the now permitted 890cc triple-cylinder from the MT-09. However, this could be dependent on the cc bands which will likely cap only twin-cylinder models - like the Ducati - 960cc with the triple-cylinder cap coming in lower at around 800cc.