For 2016 the majority of the WorldSBK field will run on Öhlins suspension and for those who want the latest material the forks will be all-new RVP25s (Rod Valve Piston, in 25mm piston diameter).
The new forks – based on the 2015 Moto2 units used last year – still have 42mm inners like the 2015 WorldSBK offerings but this time the solid piston system has been replaced by an inline damping system, pressurised by a coil spring.
The latest bushing technology has been adopted but the main aspect of note is that they are lighter than the previous WorldSBK cost-capped versions, by over a kilogram per set.
The lightweight fork bottom has been achieved by using a weight optimised inner tube and a lightweight fork bottom. More rigidity is also claimed.
These characteristics were achieved by moving all the adjusters to the top of the forks, and splitting the jobs of rebound and compression damping between the legs. Rebound adjustment goes to the right fork top and compression damping is moved to the left fork top. This means that there is no requirement for external damping tubes or adjustment chambers at the base of the units, saving a lot of metal. There should be forks available in two levels of stiffness and two lengths.
Ducati Corse’s Ernesto Marinelli explained what his two-rider team was running at Jerez, as Chaz Davies and Davide Giugliano took to the tracks again after their recent test at Portimao.
“We have new front forks from Öhlins, with a new damping system, and one of the advantages is that they are much lighter – a bit more than one kilo for the pair – that is pretty good,” Marinelli said.
“We have put them on with the new damping system and it gives us the same feedback as the old fork. Plus now we have a whole new margin of development. The exhaust of course is also louder for 2016 and for now we have an intermediate solution that we basically use only one muffler on the left and only the little one on the right.
“Of course we can save a bit of weight on that and the performance side is quite equivalent. Every time you can make the bike light then you can play with the weight to be placed where it is more efficient.”
Electronics was another main area of work for 2016. “We also have a lot of work on the electronics, the strategies for anti-spin, idle control – always a bit of work to do there.”