Superbikes as a sport consist of a series of road races, contested in closed circuits all across the world, just like Moto GP, but with a twist. The bikes employed are all production models, for the most part available to any random customer. There is, of course, more to it. The bikes are highly modified for the purposes they are used in, with teams of dedicated, specialized mechanics and engineers transforming already fast and reliable motorcycles into awesome, fear-inspiring racing machines. The sports’ governing body allows only for four-stroke engines, with either two or four cylinders, each specification having different cc limits. The most successful brands have been Ducati, Honda, Suzuki and Kawasaki, and the instance that the sales of their models are boosted by each race victory is doubtlessly no coincidence,
As a result, fans can identify themselves and their own bikes easily with the competitors and their rides, a fact that has surely raised the impact of Superbikes as a sporting event in a global perspective. At a time portrayed as Moto GP’s poor parent and lacking the star-studded cast of its rival competition, time has brought Superbikes up the ranks and seen it competing for popularity with the once untouchable Moto GP. Clearly that is not for lack of coverage, with motorcycling having a huge media impact.
Superbikes are well liked in the USA, Britain, Japan and Canada, where there are significant internal competitions with comprehensive coverage by press and TV. The public demand helped create a worldwide event series, the SBK, being contested continuously since 1988. Carl Fogarty and Troy Bayliss are two of the most accomplished riders of the past, with Johnathan Rea being the latest man to be worshipped as the world champion.