World Superbike: Naked Factor

After the great end of season of this 2018, with Andrea Dovizioso riding for the first privately-owned MotoGP team, it is now the time to face an economic crisis. How would you spend a gap year?

EUROS – I had been talked into a one year in Superstock and I have personally spent around 800 thousand euros, with no much blabbering! I regretted my old beautiful apartment so many times…but nine years later, talking to some friends who won the Stock 1000, I found out nothing has changed!

SUPERBIKE – A reflection on what is happening comes naturally. Superbike should be substituted by Stock 1000 or the other way around, as you like. 1 million euros, not considering the salary of riders, is the right amount of money that should be invested on a SBK program. As we have seen thanks to the Australian race analysis, the current performances of the mass-production models have been exaggerated: Marquez beating Melandri by one second to the line says a lot about the present SBK models.

SUPERSTOCK – Considering they are standardized motorbike models, the Super Sport bikes’ level today allows them to be used as racing motorbikes with only little improvements needed. The starting grid could be filled again (and with sponsors too) but it is necessary to have the courage to do what’s best for the sake of sport. Looking at the 19 names on the registered riders’ list and the average age of the riders, I wonder which lineup could represent the current Stock 1000. An idea could be that of liven things up with Naked bikes. Two wheels are always spectacular, no matter the model. If SBK wants to find a new corporate identity they need to deal with innovative themes, keeping an eye on the market response.

PAST – National championships should draw on the world’s results, since even single-branding cups used to be educational: where do you think did Rossi, Capirossi, Romboni and many other champions start? I remember Alberto Rota, a young man who struck for his manners and behavior but was also a high-speed expert. On his debut in 1985 he won the Honda VF400F, then he joined the team Italy and was quite successful in 250 too! Today he works as a baker in the successful Rota family business.

MR. NOBODY – These days they are all VR46, young men who have fan clubs before they even start riding. They post on social media as if they had won the world championship when they just got their first international competition. I might be Mr. Nobody, I decided to invest my own money and I speak from a strictly sport and management point of view. We are all good at being managers and columnists, but how many of you have been successfully riding in GP with their team and were in Aprilia during its golden years when passion ignited projects? One needs to understand motorbikes and championships before they can be turned into emotions: this is the ingredient that livens races up, and it is perfectly embodied by the almost-forty young man!

SUPER SPORT BIKES – From the SBK world championship I remember some models such as the GSXR, Panigale, R1, CBR, ZXR and RR, a distinctive sign we should think about. I love Super Sport bikes, and I remember when the Japanese stumped us with the VTR1000SP2 and the electrical starting. I like the Naked versatility and if they are on track I’m really excited about taking them to the curbs; even though I’m not a rider you can’t compare that to a prototype…it is hard to just get them started and how many people would be able to ride that? And what would be the fun of it? Well, if you are trying to be funny I’ll make you try a Moto2, only then you’ll be allowed to give me your opinion. Didn’t I promise to take you on track?! By the way, spring and summer are coming and we’re now enjoying Thailand, then we will see. Make sure you stay tuned!

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Editor in chief: Paolo Gozzi, italian journalist engaged in motorcycling from early ’80.

Strategies and management: Gianluca Montiron, former MotoGP team principal of JiR.