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

Honda unveil their 2022 CB300R

Honda’s updated CB300R fills the gap between the CB125R and CB650R in their Neo Sports Café family.

Read more

Keep up to date with our news & blogs

Bike News

Honda unveil their 2022 CB300R

Honda’s updated CB300R fills the gap between the CB125R and CB650R in their Neo Sports Café family.

Read more
Bike News

BMW Motorrad celebrates record sales in 2021

Even with a global pandemic, BMW Motorrad have had their very best year to date.

Read more
Bike News

Dakar 2022 overview: Sam Sunderland takes the crown

The Brit has won the world’s toughest bike race for the second time, after almost 40 hours of riding and 12 gruelling stages.

Read more

Have some questions?

Check out our tips & guides for some great information

Motorbike tips

Top five tips for commuting on a motorcycle in winter

Should you put your bike into hibernation for the colder months, or brave the weather and continue to commute to work?

Read more Biking Tips, Inside Bikes
Motorbike tips

Top five all-rounders for 2022

These practical machines look capable of doing a bit of everything for the savvy buyer. It’s a concept we totally buy in to, and these five are definitely worth a look.

Read more Biking Tips, Inside Bikes
Motorbike tips

Five top winter commuters for under £2000

Given a theoretical budget of £2000 we hit the internet to find five bikes we’d love to ride around over the winter months, and maybe even in the summer months too!

Read more Biking Tips, Inside Bikes