AMA to "officially" allow traction control
From Cyclenews.com this morning.....
AMA Pro Racing will cease to police traction control in the Superbike class starting with this weekend’s fifth round of the AMA Superbike Championship, a source familiar with the decision said.
The action will be taken for the rest of this season, the source, who asked not to be identified, said. The decision on whether to continue to allow traction control in 2007 and beyond will be based on the outcome of the Superbike commission meeting in Rome early next week.
The immediate affect will be a boost to Parts Unlimited Ducati, which has used a Magneti Marelli traction-control system during tests, but isn’t allowed to race it under the current AMA rules. The advantage in lap times is about a second to a second and a half, it’s believed, depending on the track.
With the benefit of the system, Xerox Ducati’s Troy Bayliss is running away with the World Superbike title and Airwaves Ducatis are one-two in the British Superbike series, which also allows traction control. It’s only in the U.S. that Ducati has struggled this year.
Parts Unlimited Ducati’s Ben Bostrom said that he’d rather see it banned completely, which would allow his dirt-tracking style to flourish. “I really like sliding the bike,” he said. “If everyone else didn’t have it on already, it would be pretty nice. The bikes are sideways, smoking the tire.” But he acknowledged there are places at Road America where it would be beneficial.
“It’s not easy getting on some of the straightaways and it’s definitely not easy coming around that Carousel,” he said. “Coming off turn 14, that last corner, there’s tire wear to be saved.” And he also said that there are a number of AMA tracks, including Barber Motorsports Park, where it would be helpful.
Kawasaki embarked on an entirely new Superbike project this year and the ZX10R is very much a work in progress. Allowing traction control, which means fitting a front-wheel sensor, means more work for the team.
Kawasaki team manager Mike Preston was less concerned with traction control than how it was implemented. “My biggest concern is the AMA,” he said. “Again, their credibility is shot. I was told face to face there’d be no more rules changes, nothing would be happening until we get some new people running the AMA.”
The AMA announced on February 18 that the Pro Racing Board was being abolished and that it would be replaced by “a new rulemaking procedure for its professional-racing programs.” The Pro Racing Board would “be replaced by independent working committees that will propose equipment standards and rules for on-track competition. Proposed rules would then be ratified by the AMA Board of Directors.”
Since those committees have never been announced, and the manufacturers had no say in this rule change, the AMA has chosen to act unilaterally, without regard for the stakeholders. “I was told by people very high above, until we get this under control, no rules changes,” Preston said.
Preston was among the race team members who attended last weekend’s meeting at Infineon Raceway where traction control, among other things, was discussed. No decision was taken, he said, because of the impending Superbike commission meeting in Rome. “Maybe they want to get rid of it,” Preston said. “We don’t really have a rules committee.”
Messages left on the cell phones of the AMA’s Director of Communication Kerry Graeber and Road Race Series Manager Ron Barrick, and on Barrick’s home phone, weren’t returned.
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