The One-Bike Rule ... it's brand-new at Daytona, but the regulation is already impacting the action.
For 2014, all non-Superbike classes are limited to one bike. If a spare is needed, it has to be assembled from parts. If there's a problem that necessitates a new bike, it?s a scramble. The rule bans teams bringing a "roller" to the track.
Stark reality: crash in a warm-up or have the motor go and you might miss the race. Having two bikes made it easy to hide problems. They would jump on the back-up and no one ever really knew.
The one-bike rule has been adopted in other series (like World Superbike and Moto2), especially series with extensive travel. (DMG) says they are trying to cut costs and willing to adopt measures they think will help.
On Thursday, a sizeable chunk of the support class fields missed track time due to crashes and/or mechanical problems. Both the Y.E.S./Graves/Yamaha boys, all of Team Hammer's riders, were among them, Dustin Dominguez ... lots of sitting on pit wall and waiting for the mechanics to fix bikes.
The teams have taken different approaches to putting together a new bike in haste.
The Graves Yamaha crew has a kit with Otterbox-style cases with the parts in it to make a bike. You can bet they have practiced re-building one. Yamalube/Westby Racing has a concert-style road case (Freebird!) with the frame in the bottom and all the other systems in the top. It's rumored that certain well-heeled teams have hired extra mechanics that are specializing in putting the pieces together.
Garrett Gerloff lost most of the session on Thursday and reflected on it after the session. "It's different. It's just something we're going to have to get used to. Obviously, it was nice to be able to jump on the other bike last year when the first bike broke or I crashed or something," said Gerloff, "but I think it really brings a different dynamic to the racing. We really have to be a lot smarter in how we use our spare parts and things like that. I also have to be a little more cautious in how hard I am riding and when, just so I don't have a stupid crash or anything like that. I actually think it's a pretty cool deal and maybe have some teams rise up when, last year, it was easy to just jump on a second bike."
The rule obviously has some detractors. One vet mechanic told us, "I want to rub on (a bike) for four months before Daytona. I don't want to build one out of a tin can in a parking lot in Tucumcari. Which one is going to be the better bike? The one we worked on all winter or the one we put together in an hour?"