Dorna prepare to hamstring World Superbikes

WSBK's new owners announce rule changes for 2014

Posted: 5 July 2013
by Ben Cope
Sykes slides to victory at Imola ... it's this spectacle that has helped WSB's huge rise in popularity
Will the new rules lead to more 'HP4 style' motorcycles in the new EVO class and in dealerships

WORLD SUPERBIKE fans, look out, new owners Dorna have announced WSBK cost cutting rules which will take effect in 2014.

Dorna bought the rights to the World Superbikes series from Infront at the tail-end of 2012 and since that time they have been in heated discussion with the FIM and Motorsport Manufacturer's Association (MSMA), the body who represent the manufacturer's taking part in the series.

Dorna claim the new rules are designed to cut the running costs for teams. Cost-cutting measures will include a strict maximum cost for all motorcycles competing in the championship, a limit on the number of engines a team can use in a season and a possibly a limit on the amount of components that can be changed. Last year it is rumoured that Max Biaggi had a fresh engine in his Aprilia RSV4 28 times throughout the season, going on to win the championship. MotoGP teams are restricted to 5 engines for the whole season.

In the last few years, MotoGP, also owned by Dorna, has seen its premier status threatened by World Superbikes. Grid numbers in MotoGP were down until the introduction of CRT while WSBK grid numbers remained larger. The laptimes of WSBK bikes are also faster than some of the bikes on the MotoGP grid, which, if you believe the rumours, could have irked members of the MotoGP paddock. Well it was enough for Dorna to enter into negotiations with and eventually buy the WSBK rights from Infront. With MotoGP billed as the pinnacle of motorcycle racing while WSBK is sold as a production-based series, the lines were more than blurred, they had jagged edges too.

Dorna has now stated that their new Superbike rules will be applied in three stages, over the course of three seasons. Teams within the WSBK paddock were particularly unhappy at the idea of a sudden change, afterall they've invested serious time and money in getting their bikes to where they are now and an overnight change would see luke-warm Superbikes on the grid, not capable of getting anywhere near the lap times the current WSBK bikes are capable of. Also, an overnight change could completely ruin the successful formula of World Superbikes and then Dorna would be left with an even bigger mess to sort out.

Dorna are also hedging their bets with a new EVO class, which is very similar to that adopted by the British Superbike series in 2010 and like BSB, will run with the WSBK class. The EVO class in WSBK will essentially be a stock engine but with other components similar to those on the full-blown WSBK machines. Whether the EVO class will run a stock ECU or traction control remains to be decided by Dorna.

The last line of Dorna's press release states: 'The constructors present in the FIM Superbike World Championship agreed to have a minimum number of motorcycles with the same state of tuning, available for sale or through lease.' This could mean privateer teams running bikes very similar to the factory teams or lots of tricked-up special edition versions of existing superbikes, similar to BMW's HP4, available for road riders to buy in dealerships.

With all this talk of cost saving, it's worth noting that the single largest expense for any team competing in the WSBK championship is the logistics costs of freighting the team and bikes around the world. the engine and tyre bills don't even come close. In an interview with Crash.net, Jeremy McWilliams who is running a World Supersport team this season said: "If you get rid of electronics altogether, it's only 15 grand saving. The flyaways are ridiculously expensive."

One thing's for certain: Dorna are capping the full potential of a World Superbike under the banner of 'cost saving'. These new changes may save money but they'll ensure that World Superbikes won't be able to threaten MotoGP laptimes and that should keep the MotoGP paddock happy. For now.



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Discuss this story

WHY is DORNA running everything?

Posted: 05/07/2013 at 12:14

is that a typo?

should it be
"WHY is DORNA ruining everything?"

Posted: 05/07/2013 at 13:18

DAMN! Someone got there before me!

Posted: 05/07/2013 at 13:28

I read it as ruining anyway.....

WSBK is a threat to moto GP so they but it and ruin it. If ever we needed proof that DORNA are only in it for the money there you are.

By the way, if you say DORNA in a South African accent the word is slang for smashing or breaking something...

Posted: 05/07/2013 at 15:28

I must be missing something, what's so wrong with making the bikes cheaper and closer to their road-going equivalents, as long as the racing is still nip-and-tuck?

I mean sticking fake headlights on the fairings seems more than a bit pointless but other than that I don't really care what ECU they have, or probably even how much power, as long as there's good racing. As long as DORNA don't stuff that up (which, admittedly given the state of MotoGP at the moment is hardly guaranteed) then does it make much difference whether they're semi-prototypes or almost Superstock?

Posted: 05/07/2013 at 17:19

Best move in ages, WSB was getting out of hand being no more than a lookie likie series. This is exactly what it needed, it'll give fans a real idea of where the road bikes are.

These things are thinly disguised prototypes which would give the bottom two thirds of a MotoGP grid a run for their money. Should be putting the fuel tanks in the road bike position, running road brakes, etc, etc. Should be a factory RR pack that changes the bike from a pure road bike to and allows you to race these things.

I'd quite happily see them running on road tyres as well and meeting road noise levels.

Posted: 05/07/2013 at 17:53

dorna bought wsb to remove the threat to moto gp.by neutering the superbikes it will vastly widen the gap to moto gp which is dornas cash cow.it is also dominated by spaniards dorna,repsol,the riders.its a spanish show.lets boycott silverstone.

Posted: 05/07/2013 at 20:46

It would be good if Dorna changed the rules to the same as BSB.
The BSB guys could do wild cards in WSB.
If you a wild card you can use the same tyers as your domestic series.

Apart from the one bike rule it works realy well. The new qualifying in Moto Gp is much better.

Dorna should also look at the super stock bikes & make them run stock road bikes. Just put race fairngs on & a racecan, power commander, rearset, springs in the front surpension & change the rear shock.

Then we would know what was the best road bike.

Posted: 05/07/2013 at 23:54

It's obvious that Donna are trying to pull the superbikes down from the prototypes times but if the racing is WSBK is more exciting than Moto GP then that's what I'll put first. If they want the make things better they need to change Moto GP to give more satellite riders a better chance of being at the front. Multiple tyre manufacturers may be a good start. This is the first year in a while that's had some excitement in Moto GP.

Given that it's Dorna though I doubt they'll pay much attention to fans/sense/anything not related to more money in the short term.

Posted: 06/07/2013 at 09:46

Did you know BSB is also run by Dorna?
They bought the rights around 2006-2007 and the first thing they did was to introduce the single tyre supplier agreement

Posted: 06/07/2013 at 16:00

Cost reduction... Get real for the logistic costs. Leave the racing alone.

Posted: 09/07/2013 at 02:15

Damned either way...

"pure" racing gets won by the money and quickly turns predictable and boring. "Diluted" racing gets called as too interfered with.

I'm not sure that WSB really fills its brief anymore. The idea that its a series where you can see your roadbike with its full potential unlocked? Seems more like a series for race bikes mocked up to look like one you have.

Why not make teams take a genuine road bike, throw away lights, mirros, etc, add a race can, commericially avalable brakes and suspension, and slicks and off you go?

Posted: 09/07/2013 at 13:59

Yep. make the bikes 50 bucks cheaper and look the other way when the bill comes for getting to each round. Dorna has it sussed. Fuckwits.

Posted: 10/07/2013 at 12:53

I think WSBK needs a change only 18 bikes on the grid costing hundreds of thousnds to transport across the globe for less than entertaining racing at times. BSB is probably the most entertaining race series don't knock the WSBK changes it needs something GP is boring too Moto 2/3 best part of a GP weekend

Posted: 10/07/2013 at 17:25

WSB is by far the better series. Wouldn't be good if they kept the format the same but had for example 3 races with the WSB boys vrs the MotoGP boys. It would cetainly squash some ego's

Posted: 11/07/2013 at 07:50

Because they paid the money and bouth WSBK.

Posted: 11/07/2013 at 10:09

So I guess this will negate the need for a Superstock series???

Perhaps not, but they won't be far from each other eh? As others have said here, if the racing's close it doesn't matter to me how near or far the lap times are from MotoGP.. A race is all about similarly matched machines being ridden by great riders. MotoGP is the pinnacle.. It's prototype so they should be a little faster sure....

..Can you imagine how ridiculous it would be if world touring cars were as fast as F1???

That's what we're talking about.. the difference between prototype and production based.

Posted: 13/07/2013 at 13:33

Dorna have already started! The one-bike rule has completely messed things up - as it has in MotoGP - so that if a rider falls off in the high-pressure qualifying sessions he could miss out on the race (races in the case of WSB)

Incidentally, is it coincidence that the Dorna website doesn't list the WSB championship?

And as for the not stopping a race: what planet are these people from?
Whatever happened to "rider safety is paramount"?

Gone the same way as "free-to-air tv is our priority" I suppose!

Maybe they're trying to raise money for the Spanish government:-)

Posted: 09/08/2013 at 14:12

Talkback: Dorna prepare to hamstring World Superbikes