motorbike news

Bike news

Video feature: What really goes into building and running a top superbike racer?

08-06-21 Donington Moto Rapido 0005

Although a racing superbike may look like a regular machine you could ride out of a dealership, albeit one with lots of stickers on, it really is anything but. We caught up the team at Moto Rapido who run the Oxford Products Racing Ducati squad in the British Superbike Championship (BSB), to find out just what it takes to build and race one of these weapons…

Whether you’re heavily into your racing or not, there’s no denying that top level racing bikes really are works of art; machines sculpted with the sole purpose of being as fast as possible. Every single part on a superbike exists for function, whether that’s to keep it on the cusp of the rulebook, or to shave off those vital thousands of a second when it comes down to gunning for a lap time. 

Although a superbike looks and sounds trick from the side of the track, it’s only when you get up close that you can really appreciate the time, effort and extravagance that goes into creating one of these monsters. For example, even though the Oxford Products Racing Ducati squad is a relatively small team, running out of the workshop of the Moto Rapido Ducati dealership in Hampshire, there is a mechanic whose sole, full-time job is just to work on Tommy Bridewell’s racing Panigale V4R. It’s certainly not just a case of bolting some bits on either. Oh no, nothing is that simple. For example, with such a busy schedule for this year’s condensed calendar ahead, the team need a bunch of engines in rotation, each of which takes days to put together. They come direct from Ducati Corse in Italy, the manufacturer’s exclusive racing division, and arrive as multiple boxes of parts and bolts, which are then assembled by head mechanic Baz in Winchester. But it sets the scene nicely for the little details; the thumb brake, for example operates the clutch and the clutch lever operates the rear brake, and every single part of the Panigale looks like it was crafted to perfection – which, if you’ve ever built a race bike before, you’ll know is nigh on impossible.

08-06-21 Donington Moto Rapido 0001

And then pretty much everything around the engine has been designed solely for this exact machine, in this exact championship.

Because that’s where the hard work really begins. In line with BSB rules, all machines run a standardised Motec ECU, which means that the amount of fine tuning that has to be done to create a fast and effective race bike, which will make a tyre last over a full race distance, is infinite. And because BSB regulations differ from those in World Superbikes and other national championships, such as MotoAmerica, a lot of the parts on this V4R are not shared with any other racing Ducatis on the planet.

The exhaust and fuel tank, for example, are built for Moto Rapido to an exact specification, which in turn means that they need to make bespoke fairings to fit on, which then means that they alter the engine covers… the list goes on, and that’s before they even think of firing up that 230bhp V4 engine.

But don’t just take our word for it – we caught up with team owner Steve ‘Wilf’ Moore, to get the inside line on what it takes to manage a successful superbike squad…

Bike News

You also may be
interested in...

Bike News

Triumph continues to evolve their Moto2 programme

More power, more revs and some new internals are set to make the intermediate Grand Prix class even faster…

Read more Bike News, Inside Bikes

Keep up to date with our news & blogs

Bike News

Triumph continues to evolve their Moto2 programme

More power, more revs and some new internals are set to make the intermediate Grand Prix class even faster…

Read more Bike News, Inside Bikes
Bike News

Moto Morini back in business with 6½ Seiemmezzo range

Revived Italian brand Moto Morini is back in Britain and Ireland with a new range of 650cc middleweights called the 6½ Seiemmezzo.

Read more Bike News
Bike News

Top five… Triumph Daytonas from the Hinckley era

There’s a certain legend around Daytona, the fast American race track where some of the most iconic car and motorcycle races of all time have been held.

Read more Bike News

Have some questions?

Check out our tips & guides for some great information

Motorbike Reviews

Reviewed: Triumph Speed Triple RR

Triumph claim that their Speed Triple RR is ‘the ultimate sportsbike for the road’. So, is it?

Read more Bike Reviews
Motorbike Reviews

Reviewed: Ducati Multistrada V2 S

In a world of big, powerful and heavy sports tourers, has Ducati created something special in their more user friendly, lower capacity Multistrada?

Read more Bike Reviews
Motorbike Reviews

Reviewed: Ducati Scrambler Urban Motard

Ducati’s Scrambler range has grown from a few models back in 2015 into a brand all of its own. Ducati Scramblers offer a model for just about every retro taste and, for 2022, there’s a new kid on the block…

Read more Bike Reviews