Would MotoGP-style test concessions entice more manufacturers to WorldSBK?

Honda boss Leon Camier believes WorldSBK should fall into line with MotoGP with the introduction of testing concessions to attract more manufacturers

Leon Camier, Xavi Vierge, Iker Lecuona - Team HRC Honda

Honda WorldBSK boss Leon Camier says he is in favour of the series adopting a similar testing concessions regulation to that of MotoGP both to help struggling manufacturers and to encourage new ones into the series.

The premier series introduced a format of concessionary development and testing days to assist manufacturers who were struggling to bridge the gap to the front runners, with Suzuki, KTM and Aprilia originally benefiting from the move.

Since then Suzuki has gone on to win the 2020 MotoGP World Championship, while the liberal use of free testing outside of official pre-season and in-season sessions has been credited with KTM’s upturn in performance since 2020. As it stands, only Aprilia - which has achieved just a single podium with its RS-GP - is able to test freely in 2022.

If this was to be applied to WorldSBK, the two manufacturers able to benefit would be BMW and Honda, but while Camier’s support is understandable from his standpoint, he believes it would also have the effect of encouraging new manufacturers into the sport too.

“I think it would be good,’ Camier said. “We would like to test as much as possible but you can’t test every day of the week. If we did have open testing it would not be for the sake of riding, it would be when we had specific parts to test and it would be based around what Japan could make in regard to new parts.

“So we won’t be just rolling around, there has to be some specifics and goals, but we would like more testing.”

“It’s very hard to make progress with very constrictive rules, allowing new manufacturers into the championship and giving them a little bit more freedom to test would be beneficial. We will see what happens, if it happens at all, but it would be helpful for sure.”

Which manufacturers could enter WorldSBK in future?

Two names have popped up on the rumour mill in recent months that would certainly be encouraged by this change in the regulations; Suzuki and MV Agusta.

Last year there was talk doing the rounds that Suzuki is working hard on a replacement for the ageing Suzuki GSX-R1000R and is doing so with racing very much in mind.

The manufacturer hasn’t been represented in WorldSBK since 2015 when it efforts were prepared by Crescent Racing, which persevered with a pair of previous generation GSX-R1000Rs with scant support from the factory before the British outfit switched allegiance to Yamaha.

Indeed, Suzuki’s support of WorldSBK could have been described as fairweather even before its exit, but while the production series went by the wayside as it put its effort and resource into MotoGP instead, the manufacturer’s renewed success on the premier class has seemingly encouraged it to put some focus on spreading that influence, while it knows better than anyone the difference a concessionary regulation would have on its fortunes.

Similarly, MV Agusta has teased it would be wanting to take its much promised new F4 sportsbike back to WorldSBK. The Italian firm enjoyed a brief stint in WorldSBK with the discontinued model between 2014 and 2018 achieving decent results - mostly with Camier at the controls - despite a lack of testing and reliability.

With this in mind, a renewed effort might be encouraged by the chance to give the F4 the miles necessary to get up to speed with the likes of Yamaha, Kawasaki and Ducati.

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