The World Superbike is divided in three classes. The newborn 300SSP has achieved resounding success since its first days. Spectacular races with a keen eye on costs, an easy formula for success. The 600SSP is living through a transtion period, as confirmed by the sales of Supersport motorcycles, while SBK is creating new equations to limit costs’ growth and to make it a level playing field.
A REVOLUTION – Since Melandri’s lap time at Philip Island, a little more than 1 second from the 2017 Marquez world record everyone could tell that Ducati and Kawasaki are one step ahead, and the numbers speak for themselves. Talking to the teams, the budget for a good quality Superbike season is around two million euros, a significant figure these days. Dorna’s objective now is to make profound changes on the rules to resize the system and see a busy starting grid. He will have to be brave to make Superbike what it has the potential to be: a serial product synonymous with reasonable costs in spite of single control units and other ploys.
THE FUTURE – Private teams should be able to fight every Sunday to gain meaningful positions according to their ability to find the winning formula during the race weekend. While the national championship rider should be able to yearn for his place in the sun at the wildcard entries. Thanks to my long-standing GP experience I’m very familiar with Dorna’s management skills. He knows they will have to follow the market and deeply transform the Superbike’s formula if they don’t want to be held hostage by the production companies while the latter will need support for promoting their motorbikes.
SUCCESSFUL STORIES – The Yamaha’s sport branching is well-represented in SBK by Yamaha Motor Europe. The current CEO, Eric de Seynes, a passionate fan and former rider, made the R series a success story giving free rein to Andrea Dosoli. He is a few words’ Italian that built his prestige by winning the World Championship in 300 and 600 while also increasing sales. The R1 won the endurance world championship, the Suzuka 8 hours and it has also been the main character in the national championships: Britsh Superbike, CEV, German and French championships. This demonstrates the success of R-based models, although the R1 toils in the SBK, showing that performances in the top league are adversely affected. Not to mention the GSX-R, launched a few years ago by Suzuki but still nowhere to be seen at a starting grid.
ALTERNATIVES – Back in the 1986 people in the States were riding the “Naked”, do you remember the Daytona 200 miles with Eddie Lawson, Wayne Rainey, Fred Merkel, Fast Freddy Spencer and Kevin Schwantz? It is from that series that the American greatest races come: fierce and extraordinary competitions, that should be the European target market today! A word to the wise…
Happy hour with a good glass of Prosecco and a couple of chips are always there with SBK, stay tuned!