Tony Goldsmith Captures Frozen Images At Assen WorldSBK - Part 1

Alvaro Bautista's reign continued at Assen, though it wasn't quite as easy as at previous races

Local hero: Michael van der Mark always finds that little bit extra around Assen

Hard to believe, but it was snowing the day before

Johnny got beat. The reigning world champion didn't finish second for the first time this year

Focus. Eugene Laverty listens intently

A pair of nines: Toprak Razagatlioglu seems stuck outside the top ten so far

Thank god for tire warmers - temperatures at Assen were Arctic

A change of team has not improved the fortunes of Honda in WorldSBK. Leon Camier couldn't break into the top 10

New team, new bike, new motivation for Tom Sykes. Progress being made with the BMW S1000RR

Chaz Davies made a big step forward at Assen. It was much needed

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hi david, I haven’t been up to speed on WSBK this year but I managed to catch Assen race one. Not sure if this has been addressed recently but it looked like Bautista’s Ducati might be running some kind of GP gearbox. As he pulled up to the front row for the start of the race the onboard camera was broadcasting. As he rolled to a stop he thumbed a lever on the right clip on that is very similar to the GP bikes lever that engages neutral. 

When he put the bike into gear as the lights went red he pushed down to engage first as the GP bikes do with their seamless gearboxes. 

As far as I know its not seamless but yes, the Ducati has a GP-style gearbox this year as you described.

The neutral lever on the GP bikes isn't because they have seamless boxes, it's because neutral is at the top of the pattern, rather than between 1st and 2nd. Given that WSBK bikes don't run the standard production gearboxes Ducati may have copied that layout.

I only mentioned "seamless" because that is the only current example out there in the racing world where neutral is not between 1st and 2nd gear.  I already understand that just because neutral isnt between 1st and 2nd, doenst men it has to be a "technically" seamless gearbox.  I just found it interesting that there is nothing in the rule book that that demands gearbox layout to replicate producion models (with gear ratios obviously being allowed to be changed).

All things said, I would love a production gearbox that has neutral engagement being activated by a lever on the handle bar instead of between 1st and 2nd. More positives than negative.  Would make it easier to engage neutral while parked, would mean less chance of hitting neutral on the dirtbike... the list goes on!