April 3, 1988, Donington Park. The historic English track is home to the first World Superbike Championship in history. From the very beginning, the Japanese motorcycle manufacturing giants Honda, Yamaha, Kawasaki and Suzuki all took part. Italian brands like Ducati and Bimota, now major players in the sport, were also involved. David Tardozzi, riding for Bimota, won the first race. Marco Luchinelli, riding for Ducati, won the second race. American Fred Merkel, riding for Honda, won the rider’s championship that first year.
Each Grand Prize is divided into two runs, race #1 and race #2, held a few hours apart. The qualification round to earn a spot on the grid is called Superpole. Since 2009, the round is similar to the qualification for Formula 1, with three knockout rounds. Points are scored by the first 15 riders in each round: with 25 points going to the winner. The motorcycles themselves must be standard production models, in other words, models used by the general public on roadways, commercially available produced in mass quanity. The frame and the look of the bike can not be altered in any way, including the the exhaust systems, forks, suspension, brakes, handlebars and pedals, fuel tank, radiator, air box, drive shaft, diameter and wheel section can be. There are two alterations allowed: either a 1000cc 4-cylinder engine, whose minimum weight is 162 kilograms, and a two-cylinder 1200cc with a weight limit of 168 kg. The bikes can only have 220 horsepower and reach a top speed of 320-330 km / h. All vehicles must be fitted with slick tires, completely smooth and without grooves. Since 2004, the manufacturer Pirelli has been the supplier of these tires.
Englishman Carl Fogarty is the undisputed king of Superbike with four world titles on a Ducati in the 1990's, an unbroken record, and the record number of of wins: 59. In 2000, while at Phillip Island in Australia, "King Carl" crashed his bike in Race 2 suffering a fractured humerus. Consequently, Fogarty was forced to retire from racing.In the 2000s, the baton was passed to Troy Bayliss who, with Ducati, won three World Cups in 2001, 2006 and 2008 respectively. In the Monza Grand Prix of 2000, this Australian cyclist made what is considered one of the greatest comebacks in the history of motorcycling, moving from 5th to 1st place in one fell swoop. In 2010, using the Aprilia RSV4, Max Biaggi was the first Italian Superbike champion in history