Discuss: Will Dorna ruin World Superbikes?

Dorna owners, european private equity firm Bridgepoint, have bought WSB and put Dorna in charge

Posted: 15 October 2012
by Christopher Dodd

Rival franchises MotoGP and WSB join forces

WORLD SUPERBIKES is now run by Dorna, the same people who run MotoGP.

Is this the end for WSB as we know it or will the series bloom under Dorna?

Venture-capital company, Bridgepoint, owns a controlling stake in both Dorna Sports and current WSB organizer Infront Media. All parties are keen to emphasize that the distinct characters of the two competitions will remain intact - the decision to move World Superbikes underneath the umbrella of Dorna Sports is - according to Bridgepoint - a business move aimed at improving the quality of both franchises heading into the future.

Philippe Blatter, CEO of Infront Sports & Media, nephew of controversial FIFA president, Sepp Blatter said: "Under the new structure, the two leading motorcycle road racing events are now set for sustainable further growth and development. A true win-win situation has been created."

Dorna CEO Carmelo Ezpeleta added: "We're very excited to have the two top motorcycle road racing series under one roof. We fully expect to develop and strengthen the distinct nature of both MotoGP and WorldSBK as separate properties and remain committed to working with teams and manufacturers, circuit owners, sponsors and broadcasters to give fans the best experience yet."

Bridgepoint, which invested in Dorna Sports in 2006 and in Infront Sports & Media last year, added: "This is a logical and exciting development which should ensure that both these fantastic Championships continue to flourish."

MotoGP is the largest motorcycle racing franchise in the world and with gaps between viewing figures, spectator attendances and sponsorship growing larger year-on-year, Bridgepoint will no doubt be hoping that WSB can benefit from an exchange of expertise.

At the opening MotoGP race at Qatar in 2012, there were 21 riders on the grid, including 9 CRT bikes. At the opening World Superbike race at Phillip Island in 2012, there were 24 riders on the grid.

Significant changes can certainly be expected to both franchises as a consequence of being part of a single organisation. The two championships face the prospect of more stringent technical rules in order to establish a firmer distinction between them.

In a recent interview, Dorna CEO, Carmelo Ezpeleta, said: "For 2013 the regulations will be the ones that have been approved between the FIM and Infront Motorsports. For 2014, we will obviously work together with the manufacturers and the different bodies involved to change the regulations. We think that a championship derived from production bikes that is using 39 engines during one season, and in MotoGP you are using six – to be honest it’s not very correct, and we need to set up both championships with their own spirit. One is from bikes based on production motorcycles, and another is for prototypes. This is something we will do with the FIM first, and then with the manufacturers who are involved in both championships."

Pirelli, tyre supplier to World Superbikes, are switching from a 16.5" - the same size used in MotoGP - to a 17" tyre in 2013 - the same size used on road bikes. This switch will likely reduce lap-times for World Superbikes as the 16.5" tyre is lower, corners better and has years of development behind it.

It's likely that WSB will see a limited engine rule and may see other 'production-based' rules being introduced by Dorna. Will WSB be held back in order to let MotoGP, the real

With MotoGP struggling to fill a grid and World Superbikes gaining in popularity, what do you think the future looks like for both championships now they're run by Dorna?

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Discuss this story

They will no doubt reduce performance but that is not what makes wsbk so good. Its the fairly big number of bikes (compared to gp anyway) and the close, competitive racing it provides for fractions of the cost of gp bikes. The high calibre of riders in wsbk provides the racing and only moto gp gaining them will increase it's popularity or whatever they are trying to accomplish with buying wsbk. Since superbikes started it has always been exciting racing unlike gp which goes through era's of domination from one or two riders.

Posted: 15/10/2012 at 14:46

Uuuummm...??? No..??? :)

Posted: 15/10/2012 at 15:00

There's going to be quite a lot of changes coming in 2014. If you get the chance, (as I said in another thread), listen to Spalders and Toby an Jules chat from Saturday just gone. Very interesting.

The WSBK series is going to have to have some work done on it, in exactly the same way as Moto GP is / has. Look at the money BMW spent in WSBK this year. And Aprilia for that matter. How are the little teams supposed to compete with that?

Posted: 15/10/2012 at 15:14

Competition breeds excellence. I can only envisage the possibility of a two tier business plan with Motogp taking priority over WSB. Is it fair that Bridgepoint hold such substantial stakes in the worlds top two forms of motorcycle racing?
I am not convinced that it is such a good thing and I'd be a lot happier if Ecclestone had bought WSB and upped the marketing and presentation of WSB with the objective of stealing Motogp's audience.
How much ridiculous meddling would take place with WSB and would it become nothing more then a large superstock grid?
I'd be interested to know what the manufacturers think about all of this. After all if it would pose a problem, I would assume that they would cry foul pretty quickly?

Posted: 15/10/2012 at 16:02

Surely owning stakes in both is a conflict of interests ? I honestly cannot see anything good coming from this and fear they will completely screw both series in the pursuit of profit.

Posted: 15/10/2012 at 19:42

all wsbk needs is an engine cap or something similar, as there is a huge cost at the moment with the engine usage. the action is fine as it is. its moto gp that needs the work. they HAVE to introduce a stock ECU to make it something similar to moto2 or moto3. the racing in those 2 categories is incredible and the bikes are relatively simple electronically. in my opinion moto gp has been going down hill ever since it changed from 990cc!

Posted: 15/10/2012 at 22:34

In either series, how many bikes on the grid is too many?

Posted: 16/10/2012 at 02:50

h h
History has seen moto gp with less bikes and fewer manufacturers. However, at the end of the costs and incomes ledger does this translate into less $$$ money or greater profit margins for Dorna by evolving into the narrow focus on high priced bikes and fewer possible champions? I do not know. I do know that a more populist WSBK should be available to teams with less sponsorship than a billion dollars and run bikes within sight of what we buy, not within reach necessarily, but at least withing sight. Moto gp may have to exist in a rarer atmosphere as in fewer bikes and more cache. Will Dorna screw it up, depends on your perspective eh!

Posted: 16/10/2012 at 04:48

Its a great move. It might all make sense now. Make superbikes actual production superbikes, and GP a mix of top spec proto's like now and cheapo factory bikes.

The current system is bonkers and makes no sense.

Posted: 16/10/2012 at 08:35

Now I've had a bit of time to actually digest all of this, I think it'll be a good thing. Send WSBK the way of proddy racing. Not dumbing it down, but, put some rules in place to take it the way of more production based stuff.

Bring the Moto GP stuff up to the pukka R&D (with some limits, ECU's and Rev Limits) to help CRT and littler teams. I'm all for it tbh.

Posted: 16/10/2012 at 10:16

Here is is, from the horses mouth. Re HRC.


Posted: 17/10/2012 at 20:46

Thats a great interview pagik, thanks for that

Posted: 18/10/2012 at 12:59

Honda will get what they want. MotoGp can not be without honda, trust me. Nor can honda be without gp bike racing mind you.

Posted: 18/10/2012 at 13:12

I have to say, I think it's all bluster. As you say, they both mutually need each other.

Posted: 18/10/2012 at 20:34

World Superbike riders will now be able to come in to a change wheels during the course of a race if it rains as the series will revert back to flag-to-flag events.

Because there is a one-bike rule in place, the new regulation will not work in the same way as it does in MotoGP but those wishing to change tyres for differing conditions can swap wheels - but refuelling is strictly forbidden. The minimum weights have also seen the differential between the twins and fours. There is now a minimum weight of 165kg for both 1200cc twin cylinders and 1000cc four cylinders.

The four-cylinder weight is unchanged, but the 1200cc twins will be able to shed the six kilos that had been added for this season.

With the twins losing there extra weight will we be going back to calling it the Ducati Championships ?

Posted: 18/10/2012 at 22:12


Posted: 18/10/2012 at 22:17

Pagik seems well informed,Having both together,can only be a good thing,whY? Motorcycling needs a PR make over Most Films about bikes and the people that ride them has never been good(I saw Easy Rider the other week after a 30 year gap boy it was Very,very bad ending the inevitable end)Together it will be stronger more money can be spent doing the PR.
I am looking forward to 2014 it will be a dawning of the 21st century Racing proper :: we have a lot of British Rider that do well in SBK if that can be transferred to the new Motogp should be good? I for one would like to see Norton back(thats why I do the Lotto)the main problem is most Motorcyclists are living in the past the past has gone there is only the future unless we all get our act together we will end up in the S***,history always reapeats itself.............

Posted: 30/10/2012 at 17:48

I wouldn't say Dorna will ruin wsbk, I know the past is the past, but superbikes & 500's ran together and were different enough for both series to be exciting, I think the move to 4stroke gp bikes hasn't been a great move. As tech moves from gp to superbikes, they are both destined to end up virtually the same but on different tyres, with the gp bikes always a little more trick. This is happening now, just look at laptimes between wsbk & motogp, there isn't alot in it.

Posted: 01/11/2012 at 16:19

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