MotoGP Rider Exodus Into WSBK For Next Year?

There's a host of talented rookies scratching at the gate of the MotoGP paddock, and the veterans are getting nervous. Ben Spies, Marco Simoncelli and Alvaro Bautista are all tipped to enter MotoGP next year, and with the number of available seats unlikely to increase much above the existing 18 (or 19, depending on how you count), the series' current crop of underperformers are looking around for fallback positions.

Right now, their prospects look brightest in the World Superbike paddock, and so the WSBK paddock will be welcoming a couple of extra guests this weekend, in the form of Carlo Pernat and Roger Burnett. Not names the casual fan may be all too familiar with, but key players in MotoGP nonetheless. Pernat manages a large stable of top Italian talent, including Loris Capirossi, Marco Simoncelli, Alex de Angelis and Niccolo Canepa, while Burnett is the personal manager of British rider James Toseland. While Capirossi looks relatively safe at Suzuki, and Simoncelli is a dead cert to move up to MotoGP, the prospects of Alex de Angelis and Niccolo Canepa are far from certain, and Toseland has come in for a barrage of criticism after his dismal start to the season.

And so Pernat and Burnett are in Misano gauging interest for their riders in World Superbikes. Both Toseland and Canepa are familiar faces in the WSBK paddock, with Toseland having won 2 World Superbike titles, and Canepa having been FIM Superstock 1000 champion. And the interest for Toseland is already high. According to the Italian magazine Motosprint, Alstare Suzuki boss Francis Batta has been expressing his admiration for the Brit, and has been in Japan for the past few days talking about his 2010 plans. Batta already has Max Neurkirchner signed for 2010 (despite interest from the BMW team), and is believed to be keen to sign Toseland alongside the young German, in the hope of winning back the world title for Suzuki for the first time since 2005 with Troy Corser.

The pressure has eased a little on Toseland in the past couple of weeks, as Ben Spies has made it clear he is currently very happy in World Superbike, and less inclined to move over to MotoGP, while Marco Simoncelli has admitted that he has been talking to the Gresini Honda team as well as Tech 3 Yamaha. But of the two current Tech 3 Yamaha riders, Toseland is the most vulnerable. According to, Herve Poncharal is very keen to keep Colin Edwards in the team for next year, saying "If it was up to me to decide, I would re-sign with Colin Edwards today."

While the MotoGP stars are exploring options over in World Superbikes, there is also some interest coming from the other direction. John Hopkins - despite only having spent one and a half race weekends with Stiggy Honda - has reportedly been testing the waters with Tech 3 Yamaha, according to Motorcycle News' Matthew Birt. So far, his advances - made through the office of his personal manager, Bob Moore, who also played a key part in Tech 3's deal with Monster Energy - have been rebuffed. With Edwards and Toseland already on the books, and potential deals with Ben Spies and/or Marco Simoncelli, Herve Poncharal is in no hurry to fill seats at the team.

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Toseland should go back to SBK, I think the hole is already too deep for him in GP. I think he'd go well on the Alstare team. As for Hopkins, if he can't get on a factory Yamaha or Honda (which I believe is impossible), why go back to being an also ran in GP?

I would agree, Hopkins should stay in WSBK. Yamaha have their men for the factory team for years to come. I see Dovizioso staying with the Honda for at least another year or two. Pedrosa, who knows, but I am sure he will be resigned for at least another year with Honda. I would rather be fighting for a win in WSBK rather than fighting for 5th or 6th.

I've been a fan of motorcycle racing for over twenty years and over the last three or fours years GP has gotten worse and WSBK has gotten better (don't even get me started on the fate of the AMA series, it may not even exist next year. Good job DMG.). MotoGP has always been the pinnacle of racing but I don't think they are anymore. Look at the amount of riders and team the two series are fielding. Last year was almost hard to watch (except for maybe Laguna). This year we've had nary a bad race in WSBK, in fact it's been flat out awesome. Apart from Catalunya, what has there been to be excited about in GP this year?

I say Spies has a good thing going in SBK and should stay there for at least another year or two. If he wants to make the jump to the all-electronic bikes I think it would be for the worse.

Mat Mladin twittered his feelings about the series while watching the Catalunya race - "And if anyones is wondering, I'm serious about the 800's. Totally boring to watch. The race was fantastic, but the bikes are boring....Those 800's are like watching grass grow. They hardly move."

I'd like for GP to become relevant again but I just don't see it. It's too expensive, the grids are consequently too small, the racing is usually not that exciting to watch.

The AMA series is already dead, and WSBK has been more exciting than GP since about Doohan's second championship. However GP will always remain the pinnacle, as long as it doesn't fold financially, or the manufacturers don't decide to start their own championship.

Sorry, but that's BS.
Pedrosa running at 349 km / h at Mugello...
That's some pretty quick grass.
Most of the race lap-records have been beaten since the 990 bikes haven't they.
Sure, the 990's by now would have been a lot faster. But he's just talking BS.

I think Mat was implying the bikes dont squirm or move around like its Junior series.

I never thought about it. I think he's right, it's only til the top riders are battling that they really start sliding around something remiscant of the early 990cc days. Dont flame me but that is what I think he meant.

Your absolutely right about the records.

I would like to the see the 990's back.

Mat Mladin also thinks not the greatest things of electronics. He runs the same stuff you and I could buy online.

I like the fact here in the US he said that the electronics in turn rumours were suggesting he had a WSBK spec bike (electronics). His retort that should just remove them for everyone.