Ezpeleta Speaks On WSBK And MotoGP: No Change For 2013, All Change For 2014

The repercussions of Bridgepoint's decision to hand control of the World Superbike series to Dorna are just starting to become clear, as each of the protagonists get to explain their side of the story. After Paolo Flammini spoke to the media at the final World Superbike round of the year at Magny-Cours, at Motegi, it was the turn of Dorna CEO Carmelo Ezpeleta to face the press.

He did so an hour before the traditional pre-event press conference, giving a statement and answering questions from assembled journalists on the implications of the move (a full transcript of the press conference is available on the official MotoGP.com website). Ezpeleta did his best to first of all quell any fears among the legions of World Superbike fans that Dorna intended implementing any major changes for the coming season, ensuring the assembled media that all would go ahead for 2013 as planned. "For next year things will continue as they are, and both MotoGP and WSBK will continue the same way, with exactly the same system of organization and with the same technical rules," Ezpeleta told the press. "For 2013 the regulations will be the ones that have been approved between the FIM and Infront Motor Sports," he said in response to questions, "In 2013 it will be exactly as proposed by the different parties involved, there will not be any changes for 2013."

Beyond 2013 is a different matter, however. Ezpeleta made it clear that his goal was to harmonize the regulations between the MotoGP and World Superbike series, each maintaining their separate identities, but cutting costs and increasing the spectacle in both. "From now, together with the FIM, the manufacturers, the circuits and with the teams, we will try to accommodate these difficult economic times to set up two championships that are able to continue and to grow together," Ezpeleta said. "This is the main aim of both championships - reducing costs and increasing the show."

While he would not be drawn on specifics, Ezpeleta did highlight at least one area where rule changes could be expected. "We think that a championship derived from production bikes that is using 39 engines during one season, while in MotoGP we are using 6 – to be honest it’s not very correct," Ezpeleta said. One of the reasons the CRT teams in MotoGP have struggled to be as fast as the WSBK machines is because of this difference. With just 12 engines to last the season, the CRT machines have been forced to run with much less power than their WSBK equivalents, as the CRT bikes have to last for some 1200 kilometers, rather than the 200 (or 500, if some WSBK teams are to be believed) that the World Superbike engines do between engine rebuilds.

It seems inevitable that an engine allocation will be introduced in World Superbikes from 2014, as a way of cutting costs and reducing performance. It has happened with some success in World Supersport this season, the WSS bikes being restricted to 8 engines for a year. That has seen the gap closed between the mid-pack riders and the front runners, though the same names remain at the front. With few modifications allowed to the engine internals, the only way to increase engine durability is to decrease the state of tune, and so close the gap between the factory (and factory-supported) riders and the privateer teams. It would also open the gap between MotoGP lap times and WSBK times, allowing Dorna to impose other restrictions on MotoGP to cut costs and reduce performance in the prototype series.

The aim was not solely to cut performance, however. The main aim, according to Ezpeleta, is to retain the distinctive identity of each series. "We need to set up both championships with their own spirit. One is from bikes based on production motorcycles, and another is for prototypes," the Dorna boss said. "This is something we will do with the FIM first, and then with the manufacturers who are involved in both championships."

The Spaniard would not be drawn on what this would mean for electronics. "It's too early to talk about electronics," Ezpeleta told the press conference. He emphasized that he was agnostic about specific technologies or ideas, his only aim being costs and spectacle. "We are not 'in favor' of ECUs or rev limits," he said. "We are in favor of reducing the costs and increasing the show."

Though Ezpeleta did not say so in so many words, it is clear that there will be much more coordination of the rules between the two series. With the manufacturers effectively sidelined in both series - Ezpeleta has this year followed the example set by the Flamminis some ten years ago - Dorna will control the technical regulations and harmonize them between the two series. But it will be Dorna who write the rules, not the factories. "The obligation of the organizer of the championship, together with the FIM is to set up technical rules to make the championship." The rules in both series made them too expensive, Ezpeleta said, and that meant working on cost reduction in both series.

This, Ezpeleta let casually slip, was the reason that the Flamminis had been taken out of the equation. "Since Bridgepoint's acquisition of Infront Sports and Media, we have had several meetings with Infront Motor Sports to try to adapt the technical rules of both championships. This was the main aim of Bridgepoint, trying to think of the two championships together," Ezpeleta explained. "We had several meetings during last year, first in Madrid, then in Rome, then in Paris and finally in Donington, trying to accommodate the rules." But the Flamminis were not prepared to play ball. "This was impossible," Ezpeleta said. "So finally the decision of Bridgepoint was to maintain two championships, two separate championships as two separate companies, but both under the umbrella of Dorna Sports."

It was inevitable that in any conflict between the two series, Dorna would get the upper hand. Bridgepoint actively decided to purchase Dorna after CVC was forced to sell the company, and Bridgepoint have been directly involved since the takeover. Infront Motor Sports, on the other hand, was a tiny part of a massive takeover, when Bridgepoint purchased Infront Sports and Media, the parent company of the branch that runs World Superbikes. WSBK was an irrelevance to Bridgepoint, the private equity firm's main prize being the highly lucrative soccer and winter sports rights held by the parent company. The attempt by the Flamminis to defend what they saw as their interests was doomed to be quashed by Bridgepoint, who want to see the two series working together rather than competing.

Where that leaves the Flamminis is uncertain, but it seems unlikely that there will be a place in the series for either Paolo or his brother Maurizio. "In principal we are still talking with the people to know exactly who will run [World Superbikes], but it will run under the umbrella of Dorna," Ezpeleta explained. "At the top of both championships there will be Dorna."

Whether this is a good thing or a bad thing remains to be seen. Giving the control over the two series to a single company makes commercial sense, and allows much more coordination between the two motorcycle racing world championships. It will mean there will be fewer conflicts between the two, and will stop them competing in areas such as circuit contracts, where the two have sometimes engaged in bidding wars rather than working together to maximize the profile of the sport.

The fear is that Dorna will kill off World Superbikes in the hope of putting more money into MotoGP. That seems unlikely, as having races on 30 or more weekends a year is far more profitable than just holding the 18 rounds of MotoGP. As long as World Superbikes and MotoGP make more money as separate series than they would as a single, combined series, Bridgepoint will not allow Dorna to kill off WSBK. That does mean that Dorna has to ensure that WSBK remains a profitable and successful series, however. The question is, how do they do that?

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Having Dorna involved in any way with WSBK is terrible. EVERY thing I enjoy about motorcycle racing is in WSBK (Superpole qualifying format, two races per weekend, faster and simpler machines, pack racing).

Now Ezpeleta is going to come in and start introducing engine limits, lowering performance and shutting out the Italian management that has had so much success.


There is good on-track action currently in WSBK, but do you enjoy the shrinking grid? Or the fact that hardly any rider is making a decent wage? How about the problem that hardly any teams are making a decent profit? And what is the outlook if Honda shows up with MotoGP bikes disguised as homologation specials, with an army of electronics engineers. The simple fact is... the "party" is not sustainable.

Racing takes big piles of money and turns them into little piles of money. It has never been sustainable and seldom profitable. It's racing!

Money aside, look at MotoGP next to WSBK. Does it solve these problems you see in WSBK?

Does anyone really think Carmelo will do good things in WSBK after his record in MotoGP?

I can't think of any good he has done for MotoGP since he's been there. I can't see any good he has planned for the future. To my eyes the series continues evaporate every year under his thumb and lack of imagination.

re: "And what is the outlook if Honda shows up with MotoGP bikes disguised as homologation specials"

you mean like aprilia, BMW, and yamaha ALL did in '09...? and like bologna's doing with the panigale in 2013...? honda still has to play inside of section 2.4 as outlined in the FIM rulebook same as all the others.

Aprilia, BMW, and Yamaha are NOTHING compared to what Honda contemplates, and they also are not sustainable. Where is Yamaha? Gone. Where is BMW? Effort very inept (especially electronics) and effort scaled way back after this year.

Most WSBK rounds this year have been entertaining crashfests, but the series' commercial and economic fundamentals are not favorable.

You need to refresh your historical understanding of 1000cc WSBK. The MSMA originally wanted the 1000s to be modified with kit parts so that privateers could provide full grids. The original 1000cc rules were too 'dumb' by my estimation, but the Flamminis had delusions of grandeur back in those days (imo); therefore, they created technical regulations that can be construed as MotoGP-lite. SBKs are now covered with prototype parts and shod with prototype racing tires. The 2003/2004 seasons were basically an insurrection by Italian companies with more speed-lust than sense (speed-lust and smarts are not mutually exclusive). Global Superbike racing has been falling apart at the seams. First, small markets, like Australia (ASBK) and Germany (IDM), crafted rules quite similar to Superstock. Second, big markets, like the US and Japan, deteriorated into Supersport. Even BSB felt compelled to ditch the FIM rulebook for a hybrid rulebook, halfway between 'proper' FIM SBK and FIM Supersport.

If racing parts are not accessible via kits or homologation specials, the SBK racing industry will continue to break down. WSBK will look healthy on the surface of things, as it does now, but the underlying production racing industry will rot WSBK from the inside out.

Regarding Superpole and the two race format, TV companies will decide whether those formats are viable for entertainment. Furthermore, you already know the Flamminis have been mulling the idea of pitstops for a longer single race format. Pack racing will not change b/c the fundamentals of the SBK regulations will not change. Furthermore, slightly reduced horsepower will probably only improve the draft effect at places like Monza.

I think a less rose-colored-glasses view of WSBK history would show that factory specials have ruled the series since its inception. Honda actually built motorcycles specifically to win the series.

It's a nice dream, the privateer or private team winning, and it's very pleasurable to watch when they snatch a victory (see Guintoli this year). But the reality is that in any high-level motorsport, it's the well-funded factory teams that take the titles.

At the national series level, it really doesn't matter if the spec is Supersport or Superstock - no one outside of Australia knows who won Superbike there, and no one knows what bike they rode.

Everyone knows that factory specials dominated WSBK competition, but those homologation specials were sold to racers around the globe (and wealthy street riders). Australian Superbiker, AMA Superbiker, and World Superbiker all started with the same homologation special. The 'stock' machines were actually very technologically advanced so the modifications were fewer. Unfortunately, the bikes were so smart that the manufacturers were losing money, which prevented manufacturers like Kawasaki and Suzuki from creating 'RCs' of their own, but the homologation papers can remedy that situation.

The factory teams will probably always win, regardless of the rules, b/c factories hire the best technical personnel, management, and riders. In an environment with accessibility to parts, those will be the factories only advantages, which gives privateers an incentive to compete. In environments with prototype parts and no accessibility (not a 'production' environment) the privateers are basically begging for the future of their racing businesses. Take Alstare, for instance, shopping around to find someone who could provide him with technical expertise and parts. When the factories keep prototype parts under lock and key, the privateers are just puppets, placed on the grid to make the competition look fierce. In reality, the manufacturers are just pulling their strings so they lose honorably (MotoGP satellite teams, anyone?).

While the factories' may have lost money on those homologation specials that in itself is a form of cost containment. They in effect were subsidizing the racing rather than having the teams and organizers subsidizing the factory race divisions. If for say Honda had to put a bike on the grid at a price then it's up to them how much they are willing to lose financially to game the odds in their favor. If they had to offer RC213V's, support, and spares for an IRTA specified "affordable" price then they would either have to contain the costs of the engineering and production of the bikes within their internal budgets to break even or take the loss on every bike leased in magnitude to how far overboard they go from what's realistically affordable for the grid.

I think we're on the same page. Make the rules more stock, and whichever manufacturer wants to win the worst will just build the most expensive, most sophisticated stock bike.

Yamaha wrecked AMA Superstock with its LE-model R1; they fitted Ohlins suspension, a slipper clutch and Marchesini rims to just enough models to qualify for the class. An $18,000 R1 in 2006.

Imagine what this process will be like on the world stage. Cost-cutting, my ass. I think it will have the opposite effect.

re: "WSBK will look healthy on the surface of things"

well then they sure as hell got one up on Dorna...? cause MotoGP doesn't even have that...!

The Flamminis make contracts with major WSB teams for a " gratuity payment " of $$$$$$$ to each at seasons end. Obviously they won't have enough dosh to pay the agreed amount. WSB pays as much as it can at seasons end, declares bankruptcy, as it is still a separate entity regarding its financial affairs.

They walk, and start another series ( by a nominee company and
with a professional marketing organization ) with all the existing teams. The WSB teams won't wait for the Madrid Manuels to offer them their alternative. There would be plenty of circuits that would be keen on the idea

Carmen Expletive is left to whistle dixie, Bridgeport's investment is gone, CE wouldn't exactly be flavor of the month.

" Revenge is a dish best served cold "

The contract issued by the FIM permitting the holder to organize the WSBK series and call it the World Superbike Championship his held by Infront Motor Sports. With IMS now being run by Dorna, Dorna controls that contract. The Flamminis are free to try to organize their own championship, but it will not be run under the FIM auspices and it will not be called the World Superbike Championship.

Without the backing of the FIM, it will be virtually impossible to find backing for any championship of a scale to call itself WSBK, and that will mean the teams won't want to race in it, as their sponsors won't want to be part of it.

Based upon Ezpeleta's statements about the Flamminis blocking various proposals, I think the Flamminis probably have personal control over quite a few contracts.

The Flammini's probably at least hold the rights to the name World Superbike, and it wouldn't surprise me if they personally hold some long term contracts to promote/organize events like Monza.

The Flamminis must have quite a bit of power in their hands, otherwise, Dorna could simply discard them when Bridgepoint bought out IMS.

When the Flamminis were running Infront Motor Sports, the Flamminis had complete control over World Superbikes, because Infront Motor Sports holds the contract with the FIM.

When Dorna got tired of not getting their way with the Flamminis, they went to the Bridgepoint board and demanded changes. Bridgepoint put Dorna in charge of Infront Motor Sports, meaning that Dorna now controls the contracts which Infront holds, taking the power away from the Flamminis.

This is how I understand the situation. The Flamminis would surely have tried to hold on to the rights to WSBK when the contracts were drawn up with Infront, but I suspect that Infront would have rejected any such idea. The Flamminis were bought out outright from IMS, meaning they retain no control.

re: "The contract issued by the FIM permitting the holder to organize"

re: "but it will not be run under the FIM auspices and it will not be called the World Superbike Championship."

re: "Without the backing of the FIM, it will be virtually impossible to find backing for any championship of a scale to call itself WSBK".

FIM this, FIM that. rhetorical question...? who is the FIM...? and since when do i (john Q. "fan-sumer") give a ratz about their "perceived" sovereign power...? why are they in my life...? i say "FIM SMEF-I-M".

truth is, 99% couldn't name anybody sitting on high associated with the FIM (skimming money off the top living like kings) for effectively doing NOTHING, but prolly 60-80% can name a person (or persons) sitting on high at HONDA, YAMAHA, DUCATI, etc. conclusion...? the FIM means nothing to the end user. the manufacturers carry EXPONENTIALLY more weight.

not saying that they will (or that they should), but if there's ever a benefit to motorcycling NOT being as large and entrenched as say CAR-SIDE and F1, is all the players here have the freedom to start their own series in an eye blink... and it would be just as successful. the FIM only have power right up to the point that we STOP recognizing it. ask anyone associated with the "arab spring" how that plays out.

The FIM is the global organization uniting all of the motorcycling federations around the world. They have contacts with all of the national federations and associations, as well as with national and regional governments and ministries of transport around the world, the major (and minor) circuits, regional health organizations, motorcycle manufacturers and producers of every kind of motorcycle-related product.

The FIM's budget comes from three sources: contributions from national associations, some sponsorship, and a massive amount from the rights to organize various FIM-sanctioned events, such as the MotoGP and World Superbike championships.

Organizing any breakaway series would be a massive undertaking. It would involve a huge amount of money, but mostly an enormous amount of organization. Without the support of the national federations, finding the bodies on the ground to run the show as corner workers presents an almost insurmountable challenge. It would require months of meetings with local and regional governments to arrange the races, and building up relationships of trust, relationships which both Ezpeleta and the Flamminis have spent many, many years working on. Then there's the work to sell the TV rights internationally, find sponsors, all the rest of it.

When the DMG took over the AMA, the factories threatened their own breakaway series under the auspices of the MIC. In fact, they even went as far as setting up the series, naming it the USSB, or US Superbike Championship, and getting a website ready. The series never got off the ground. After the initial press release in late 2008, nothing was ever heard of the series again.

The truth is that the factories have no interest in organizing their own series. They have no real specific interest in racing, other than as marketing tool and a place to train engineers. Manufacturers come and manufacturers go, as their interests and budgets dictate. Suzuki, Kawasaki, Aprilia, Honda, Yamaha, MV Agusta, Norton, Triumph, Moto Guzzi, even (sort of) Ducati. The list of factories which have abandoned racing at some point in their history is long. Racing is an activity the factories use to support their main goal, which is to produce and sell motorcycles.

The teams, on the other hand, have nowhere else to go. Without racing, they'd have to go and get 'proper' jobs. They have nothing without racing. Dorna and Infront are the same: without racing, they have nothing, and have to dismantle their companies and fire the hundreds of people who work for them.

And please stop using all capital letters in the title of your posts, it is rather annoying.

"Dorna and Infront are the same: without racing, they have nothing, and have to dismantle their companies and fire the hundreds of people who work for them."

Going to have to disagree with you on the Infront side David. They have football, hockey, basketball, downhill skiing and a bunch of other sports under license. Dorna is racing purely.


I should have specified more clearly that I meant Infront Motor Sports, not Infront Sports and Media. The WSBK arm was an almost entirely autonomous operation within ISM anyway.

It feels like the adults have just shown up at the party. Problem is that it's like having your mom pick the music and refreshments and who you get to kiss.

I think Honda's already decided to leave MotoGP and WSBK after 2013. Really, the only question is whether Yamaha will leave, too - and Honda says Yamaha and Suzuki agree with them. We'll see if that's the case.

Enjoy next season - top-level motorcycle road racing won't be the same afterward.

I am excited about the possibilities this merger brings. It is the Brassiere Principle... "to lift and separate." It's not like either series is thriving currently. Both MotoGP and WSBK are pretty much non-viable as they currently operate.

Donna needs to focus its energy on promoting WSBK worldwide with the way the series is now. It needs more marketing, it's already a hell of a show. Not sure how they would increase the show. It appears to me that Dorna is focused on making WSBK slower to strengthen the GP brand. If they are worried about spending, why not impose spending limits? Not sure if that would work as I haven't thought it through, just throwing it out there.

Also, WE NEED A WSBK VIDEO PASS Dorna. Please please please for 2013. I have a check ready.

A few weeks ago: “I want a Moto3-style MotoGP,” he said. “Four cylinders and 81mm piston diameter [as at present] plus a rev limit and the same ECU for everyone.”

And then today: "We are not 'in favor' of ECUs or rev limits," he said.

And this is the guy doing long term planning now for both world championships?


Sorry, Chris, but Ezpeleta's comments both times are the same. You have removed the context to make them appear opposite, but his position has not changed. From the transcript of today's press conference, it was very clear. The objectives are to control costs and offer better on-track racing, and nobody has any idea how to do that better than spec electronics and rev limit. There many be plenty of areas to criticize, but this is not one of them.

The context is also the same, in discussion the rules several weeks age he expressed his desire for 81mm bore, spec ECU and a RPM limit. http://www.grandprixracing.org/ezpeletas-vision-for-motogp/ It was pretty explicit, no misunderstanding possible given the details of his comment

Today's statment is "It's too early to talk about electronics," Ezpeleta told the press conference. He emphasized that he was agnostic about specific technologies or ideas, his only aim being costs and spectacle. "We are not 'in favor' of ECUs or rev limits," he said. "We are in favor of reducing the costs and increasing the show."

If he thinks that spec ECU and RPM limits are the best way to reduce costs and improve on-track racing than he is not agnostic about specific technologies, on the contrary, he just announced a partnership with MM to make a specific ECU avilable for next year and to then limit that ecu and add a rpm limit for the following year. The ether has been abount on if Honda would withdraw if Dorna forces the spec ECU and now all of a sudden its too early to talk about electronics?

Maybe he is trying F1 type negitiations, make contradictory and inflammatory statments so your opponents have no idea where your red lines are.

Any way about it, today's statments contradict a lot of his previous ones.


Stop being a contrary arse..

As an engineer, we all understand why you're a big fan of "blue sky" racing..but ignoring the fact that electronics ARE the single biggest driver of escalating costs and a pissy skewing of what you think Ezpeleta means, does you no favours Pal.

What about the dull spectacle and shit racing?

The MSMA have been asked for constructive ideas to reform racing but have brought nothing to the table. Just like the spoilt kid threatening to take his ball home from the park and stop the game.

Carmelo has no choice but to consult elsewhere.

Get a grip.

When he says, "We are in favor of reducing the costs and increasing the show." the implication is that spec ECU and rev limits are a likely means to that end. He's saying he doesn't want spec ECU and rev limit inherently, but for what they can do for the series. There's no contradiction.

I'm cautiously optimistic about the potential of new WSBK rules. Personally, I doubt that WSBK will create engine allocation rules. As Mike Webb will probably attest, allocation rules are a monumental pain in the ass. Engine reliability can be achieved via other measures. In FIA production car racing, they often homologate static compression ratios to increase valve clearance. Static compression limitation generally increase the life of the engine by giving more valve clearance. It can also reduce the incidence of valve-strike engine failures (Haslam; Imola 2009), which could improve safety. Homologating static compression and racing pistons can also reduce the cost of modifications for the teams. For instance, cylinder head compression mods would necessarily be banned under a static compression limitation. The teams would save a bit of money on machinery and labor. The bikes would not be substantially detuned.

Reducing the rev limit by a few hundred rpm could also improve engine longevity. As long as it remains in the 12,500rpm range, the engines will have around 200hp. Reducing the rev limit could also allow Ducati to return to 1000cc for their homologation specials, which would eliminate the annoying balancing rules, and the inane political infighting surrounding balancing regs.

Accessibility is key for WSBK. It hasn't been accessible since the 750s, and while the premier World Superbike series is surviving in it's MotoGP-lite-guise, the remainder of the industry is coming unglued.

I don't fear detuning bikes will lessen the show, if at all, it will be good for the specimens lower in the food chain. AMA did just that, the backed down to almost super stock and the only thing that ended was Suzuki's reign,after all the criticism and calling AMA SuperBikes "scooters"... now (apart from Josh Hayes,but that's because something else) there are real races(albeit for 2nd place haha), so in the end, the fastest riders are going to be in the pointy end but they wont abuse the rest with unobtainable bikes and added benefit would be, the lesser teams will have a shot as well.

re: "I don't fear detuning bikes"

i only fear the man looking to "privatize gains while socialising the losses". i only fear the man looking to correct his past mistakes by making OTHERS in present day incur a burden for his bad judgment. THAT'S what i fear.

...the modifications to the bikes in terms of tuning etc are heavily restricted, but electronics are free. And so guess where the top teams spend their surplus sponsorship dosh, once they have blueprinted everything up the wazoo? On circuit specific and corner specific mapping, MotoGP stylee. That was the basic premise of a series of in depth articles by John Ulrich in Roadracing World and on their website earlier this year, anyway.

The BSB regs this year seem to have worked brilliantly, and the extra 2Krpm over stock rev limit seems not to be unduly stressing their engines. You could make a case that for a World Championship event, the cheaper BSB spec bike means that you wouldn't need a single bike rule. It's also a bit odd that half the road bikes the BSB bikes are based on have much more advanced electronics than the race bikes do. I suspect that by 2014, ALL the bikes on the grid will be based on road bikes that have TC, launch control, multiple power modes, etc etc... so the BSB rules might be seen to be good for racing but a bad idea from a marketing & product development perspective.

Perhaps a rule that only absolutely stock homolgated electronics, software and maps will be permitted as an alternative to the control ECU might work?

Sadly, I suspect that what will actually happen is that Esplezeta will move to force Honda into doing his bidding, and Honda will shrug and take their very expensive ball home, followed by Yamaha in MotoGP. This will signify the end of factory involvement in the entire Dorna dog and pony show. What happens then? I don't know, but I fear nothing good! Nobody is going to want to watch a CRT cup at MotoGP level, and I doubt that many riders will want to race in it nor sponsors to pay for it. But can motorcycle racing between the Japanese factories only occur with Dorna's permission? In the short term, I assume, yes. In the longer term, I assume not. And ultimately, FIM's vice like monopoly grip on global motorcycle racing rather loses its force if the FIM has no viable global motorcycle racing occurring under its sanction that anybody much cares about being excluded from. Could we see a Kerry Packer style insurgency backed by the Japanese factories starting up a competing world championship of some kind?

I wonder if domestic motorcycle racing championships like BSB could be the short term beneficiaries of the fall-out from all this?

re: "What happens then? I don't know"

c'mon you know EXACTLY what happens. one only needs to make a cursory glance of history to see what happens. where's PAN-AM...? where's OLDSMOBILE...? where's BORDER'S BOOKS...? that's right, they don't exist anymore.

Um, I think it's quite clear, the Flamminis will be playing golf or whatever it is other "retired" Italians do come 2014.

If Dorna & the FIM coordinate the WSBK rules with various National Series, I think it would be great. Maybe it will even develop into a real worldwide feeder series to MotoGP if they're all (MGP & All SBK's) using the same or very similar ECU's. Yet still remain a distinct spectacle worth watching on it's own merits (as it is now). It could also help break the Euro-centric rider model as it stands now. But I won't hold my breath.

I just hope the Double Header format of WSBK lives on. It's the series' greatest legacy in my opinion.

Actually, my greatest hope is that boys at Dorna aren't scheming to ultimately relegate WSBK to the dustbin of history. THAT WOULD REALLY SUCK!!!

Call it hope & fear.

re: "I just hope the Double Header format of WSBK lives on. It's the series' greatest legacy in my opinion."

but an even BETTER legacy (durable this) is in the kit you have parked in your garage. nicky's the only lucky bastid with a V5 parked in his.

Frankly i'll dont believe anything coming from Ezpeleta, in some aspects sounds too good or there's something hidden.

True than SBK cannot use 39 engines, inst't supposed than a Superbike engine must be faster, reliable and capable to suport much stress, so in that aspect the guy have reason.

The other thing than dont' sound great is the clear intention to reduce the spectacle of SBK to benefit the processional racing than MotoGP has become disguise as "Reducing cost meanwhile we increase the quality of the show". Aja.

Until am not see nothing serious am not believe anything from him, MotoGP is suffering from very long time, and dont try to redirect the fault to honda, because ins't only honda, yamaha-ducati and ezpeleta have their part on the fault too.

Just expect than he don't screw up SBK. so one as fan only can just wait and pray than he dont ruin it.

Folks keep looking for villains and Machiavellian schemes. I don't see it that way. I see that there's been a model of doing business that reality has caught up with MotoGP and fast catching WSBK. Despite the gnashing of teeth from various corners the fact is the way it's been and the way it's going is not financially sustainable and it's showing on the track, in the pits, and in the bottom line of those involved with very few exceptions. I don't see any evil sides, just different concerns narrowing following their own interests without concessions to the bigger picture. It would be great if WSBK could be minimal limits to modification with only loose ties to the donor bikes and it would be great if MotoGP could be sky's the limit technical warfare but who's going to pay for it? By the looks of it fewer and fewer. Do the manufacturers have any answers to the runaway costs and the fact that teams can't even afford to lease bikes? I'm not hearing any. I think Bridgepoint were right to see the big picture and knock their contentious childrens' heads together. The territorial skirmishes and factories' interests playing the series' against each other pushed this scenario. If I were Bridgepoint I wouldn't have two of my companies fighting and being played from outside. I'd do exactly what they've done. Put them in line, make sure they are both working within their mandates, and offer a unified front against outside coercion. The potential for the voiced fears is there but there's also a great potential to have both series define what their original purposes were. The SBK bikes have grown to be production based prototypes while the CRT's have introduced prototypes with production components. Not good. Not clear, and the gray area they inhabit is what needs to be straightened out for the series' identity as well as cost containment. WSBK should be a street bike with top shelf commodity parts. A bike that teams in national series' and TT racers could purchase and put together. MotoGP should be purpose designed race bikes. Simple. Stamp the rules, make them clear and stable then let the teams' and manufacturers decide where they want to play.

Darn it if I was a software engineer living in Europe I would found a company to produce custom made software codes for racing purposes! I believe theres some business there to do!

Close, but the top AMA teams (Yamaha) has an over-the-counter MM Marvel 4 ECU and software they have developed on their own in consultation with MM. It's awesome stuff, but it's not MotoGP-level stuff. The reason it works so well is that Yamaha's AMA team has spent six seasons developing it. They've worked their asses off and have a package that right now no one can touch.

Still, we're talking money that's hospitality chump change in MotoGP. Yoshimura says it spends $300,000 a year on electronics - staffing, gizmos, software, everything - on its AMA Superbikes.

AMA's cost reduction came from eliminating the expensive bits that everyone already knew how to do. Titanium rods, custom pistons, special cranks - those have been replaced with homologated production pieces. Didn't do anyone any good to essentially force everyone to run them. (On the bright side, I have an old, now-illegal Yamaha YZF-R1 Superbike ti con rod and piston on my desk as a souvenir - sweet!) Teams now run stock fork tubes instead of buying Ohlins stuff.

Even the AMA isn't talking about spec software. Kit boxes - yes. Spec software - no. Dorna is talking about a change so radical that even the extremely modest, horsepower-capped Canadian Superbike Series would have more advanced electronics on its mid-pack motorcycles - at least they could select the amount of TC they want.

In AMA, the Marvel 4 is acceptable on all Superbikes. In Daytona SportBike, the MM SRT ECU is permitted, as are ECUs by Cosworth/Pectel and Motec:


And yes, it's all in how you program it. It's not like you can call MM and ask for the map for an R1 at Road Atlanta in the rain and they email you something. Unless you spec the software and seal the box, all you will do is create a scramble to write code that works with whatever box you specify.

Another problem with spec software: No two riders are alike. The settings that one rider uses to go faster will slow another rider down, much in the same way that suspension works.

The M1 and Desmosedici both run MM Marvel4's, or so it was reported here not all that long ago. The ECU was reportedly only $10k and unless stoved into the ground they do not wear out or need periodic replacement. A cashed-up club racer could afford one.

I don't think the full story is really coming out with regard to costs and where the money really is. Also, I really can't see how making only 4 bikes is somehow cheaper than making 12. On the one hand this article says that Honda is making money off Moto3 because of the production volumes, and in the same breath saying that making any more than 4 RC213V's is cost-prohibitive.

Direct rules so often produce the sort of unintended consequences spoken of on this site regularly. It seems we hark for the days of the TZ's, RG's and RS's, so how about a set of rules directly aimed at achieving that goal - simpler cheaper race bikes produced in enough volume to be used by many at world and national levels.

1. A minimum rather than a maximum number of bikes per manufacturer (ie limited production race prototypes with upgrades for the factory runners as per the "good old days").
2. All non factory bikes must be owned and not leased (yearly trickle-down effect of reasonable machinery to lesser teams/riders).
3. Factory bikes must be SOLD to brand's next best performing team at years end.

The intended consequences are that much of that becomes a self-regulating framework quite unlike the current lease system. Don't want to give away your IP? Then don't include it in your factory bikes. Of course the factories would hate it, but the situation we have now is that we need a fundamental change in the racing model. Mere rev limits and spec ECU's are going to do SFA.

Now, for the unintended consequences...

re: "simpler cheaper race bikes produced in enough volume to be used by many at world and national levels."

you do realize you've just described what WSBK's been doing for 25 years right...? a door prize for anyone who can total up how many GSXR's suzuki has produced in that time...? bueller...? anyone...? anyone...?


A monopoly is never good. Especially when the CEO has a slanted interest in one part of the company. Ezpeleta doesn't give a shit about WSB. He just stated because he couldn't get his way with the Flaminis that he angled to buy them out. He will dumb WSB down to rock bottom tech so that he can dumb down MotoGP and still be the top dog series. WSB as of now kicks MotoGP's ass and the Flaminis knew it. Private teams have won multiple races this year and are always competitive. Also, let me tell you, as someone earlier mentioned, no matter what you do to the regs, Factory teams will always be superior! Ok, grid numbers are slightly down in WSB, but it is a healthy series considering the economy. It is sustainable, with many manufacturers participating. Every weekend there a 4-5 different manufacturers in the top 10. MotoGP, 3 maufacturers total in the series with 4 competitive bikes. He will smother WSB to lure the manufacturers to MotoGP. He's a conniving little fellow.

re: "Ezpeleta doesn't give a shit about WSB."

he's THREATENED by wsb. that's why he's spent the past 6 years "chewing the fat" with bridgepoint execs.

CE: "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."

Straight shot across the bow of Honda. If they leave MotoGP for WSBK-only focus, then their say in regs will go down even further.

Say what you will about him and his idea, he won't take any bs from Honda or any other manufacturer.

To me it's fine... the basic premise is right, MSMA wrote the rules that got us where we are today in MotoGP. It's time for a new direction.

I think the solution is to control the electronics in BOTH series'. It's not a popular opinion but I think we can all agree that the software development and tuning of the electronics is a huge part if not one of the biggest financial costs for racing in either series. You wanna call it dumbing down the motorcycles? Fine, call it that. You want to say "my street bike has more sophisticated electronics" whopp-a-dee-doo but cool say what you want. To me electronics are not controlled directly by the rider while riding the motorcycle, so I think they should be regulated and the same for every track and every corner or straight of that track. This makes it more about the rider and a great bike then about the team and their computer techs. Do I want NO electronics? No, I think they are useful. But in my opinion they play too big a role in motorcycle racing today.

In all this, I haven't seen any comment from or about BMW. BMW and Aprilia have got the most tech and electronics of all the stock superbikes, closely followed by Ducati. It's hard to imagine any of those three putting up with a spec ECU in superbike even though the private BMW in BSB is beginning to do quite well. And if you're looking for trickle down, those three have a much more direct link between racing tech and road tech than any of the Japanese factories.

So what? Instead of luring BMW into MotoGP perhaps via CRT, they throw the toys out and leave WSB? Same for Aprilia. They've been shafted by Dorna (not necessarily without reason!) What if Piaggio/Gilera/Aprilia leave CRT and WSB?

2014 SWC Regulations – basic

Homologation of motorcycles
Motorcycles to be based on series production motorcycles. No limited edition models will be eligible.

Manufacturers with total global production exceeding one million (1,000,000) units must homologate a minimum of 10,000 units of the model entered. Specification of each of these 10,000 units must be identical.

Manufacturers with total global production exceeding half a million units (500,000) units must homologate a minimum of 5,000 units of the model entered. Specification of each of these 5000 units must be identical.

Manufacturers with total global production exceeding one quarter of a million (250,000) units must homologate a minimum of 2000 units of the model entered. Specification of each of these 2000 units must be identical.

Manufacturers with total global production exceeding 100,000 units must homologate a minimum of 1000 units of the model entered. Specification of each of these 1000 units must be identical.

Frame (including swing-arm), engine castings, crankshaft, internal transmission ratios, and throttle bodies must be as homologated on production motorcycle.

Forks: externals, as homologated on production machine; internals, freedom of choice

Fork clamps: freedom of choice.

Rear suspension: linkages and spring/damper unit, freedom of choice

Brakes: Calipers, as homologated; rotors, steel, but with freedom of choice.

Wheels: 17-inch, any make (with cost limitation prescribed).

Tyres: any make, but must be supplied in quantities any competitor can access at the track, supplied by random selection from ‘tyre pool’ of each tyre manufacturer that has agreed to be an official supplier, by officials from the series organizing authority.

Cylinder head: stock

Camshafts: racing camshafts allowed, with homologation requirement.

Valves & valve springs: Freedom of choice.

Connecting rods: racing connecting rods allowed, with homologation requirement.

Pistons: racing pistons allowed, with homologation requirement.

ECU: Control item.

RPM limit: 5 % allowance above homologated motorcycle.

Fuel tanks: 24 litre maximum capacity, mounted as per homolgated model, and conforming to same shape.

Bodywork: silhouette exactly as homologated. Colours as per manufacturer’s original.

Exhausts: homologated racing systems allowed.

Engine displacements: 1000cc fours; 1100cc threes; 1200cc twins

Weight of racing motorcycle: mimimum, 10% less than homologated motorcycle.

I like where you're going with this but please realise that Honda, Yamaha, etc aren't selling anywhere close to 10,000 CBR1000RRs a year or R1s a year in the current economy.

Also I love homologation specials. Think of the coolest bikes over the last 20 years... RC30s, 999R, ZXR750Rs... and they all ended up being bikes that pretty much any dedicated enthusiast/collector could own with a little luck.

I say bring back the specials. Looking at total cost of ownership they're likely cheaper to race than a less expensive base bike... take a look at the EBR1190 in AMA. Yeah it's an $60K+ bike but it's completely ready to race at that price.

re: "Think of the coolest bikes over the last 20 years... RC30s, 999R, ZXR750Rs... and they all ended up being bikes that pretty much any dedicated enthusiast/collector could own with a little luck."


All the discussions above, whether clear of confused seem to concentrate on exactly what went wrong in MotoGP. The manufacturers.

Left to make technical and by implication, sporting decisions, the factories indulged in fearsomely expensive policies which inevitably drove out the weaker factories and ended up with effectively one manufacturer holding sway on the whole championship.

Even manufacturers need sponsors and what sponsors want is their own product splashed across the winning bike. Unless the sponsor happens to be the bike owner, such as with Karel Abraham, they will not continue to pour money in to watch their bike come seventeenth and only receive television coverage if the rider bins it in a suitably spectacular fashion.

As with other sports, the consumer is king and although some bitter pills will have to be swallowed and I'm no lover of Dorna, the costs simply have to be controlled and competition needs to be much closer.

jbond is wide of the mark. BMW has already left the Superbike World Championship as a direct factory entrant. So the Flamminis and InFront have not been successful there. BMW's stated aim, when it entered the SWC, was to learn in the first year (2009), get some podiums in the second year, then be contending for the championship in the third year. That did not eventuate - due to some questionable decisions inside BMW and Alpha Racing. But in their fourth year (2012) they finally became competitive, and had a shot at the title. Ultimately, Marco Melandri's crashes put paid to that title shot, but BMW had already announced its withdrawal as a factory team. Several people kept beating the drum about BMW entering MotoGP but without a major cost reducton in BOTH championships, the Germans will stay on the sidelines. Perhaps that is as good an indication as any that Dorna HAS to get the costs under control. And if Honda spits the dummy, too bad. That company has NEVER had the sport's best interests in mind.

Of all the teams and factories, BMW, I think, would be the least interested in a spec-ECU, spec-software series, whether it be MotoGP or WSBK. The S1000RR made plenty of power from the get-go. Really, the company has spent three years trying to develop electronics (and its chassis) to race-winning form. And it's not just WSBK; they are actively pursuing race ABS systems. Racing is their way of showing off their technology.

Why in the world would BMW spend tens of millions to race in a series where someone else controlled what happened when their riders turned the throttle?

As Chris said, the electronics issue is a red herring. As someone else pointed out here, you could spend $200,000-$400,000 and get a decent electronics setup. It won't win races - but it's good enough to podium in WSBK, and likely as good as any CRT machine other than the factory-developed Aprilia (which is a CRT machine like I'm Carmen Miranda).

I think Carmelo is pursuing a NASCAR-style concept where anyone, theoretically, has a shot at winning because the machines are so evenly matched. But that is exactly the type of racing that factories avoid.

p.s. I've noticed that as the F1 teams get their tire strategies together, the last few F1 races have had remarkably little on-track passing. And F1 has its own CRT grid-fillers, and boy have they been career-killers ...

'BMW, I think, would be the least interested in a spec-ECU, spec-software series, whether it be MotoGP or WSBK'
Sorry mate, I have to disagree here.
If this was the case, they'd never have fitted their boxer engine in a tubular frame behind a set of USD forks to go to Dakar (remember the 900RR that that Sainct rode to win the Dakar Rally?). Neither would they dare to scrap their Duolever/Telelever tactics in order to create a completely 'Japanese" S1000RR.
They simply know their limitations and have absolutely no problem binning their tech if the situation calls for it.
Yes, it's a very logical move to expect development through WSBK racing and it's great that they insist on doing it with their own electronics, but they do it simply because they believe they can do it. They're Germans.

Their move to GP racing won't be long. But they first want to know who makes the rules and make sure it's not the Honda/Yamaha pair.
Until then they made good use of the GP vs SBK row, made sure to stay connected to MotoGP (safety cars, prize cars for riders, a pretty expensive 7-series gifted to Ezpeleta), all the while developing a competitive S1000RR race bike.
It's rather obvious their plan is all about CRTs and, should one day Ezpeleta announce the end of prototypes, there'll be a huge party in Munich.

BMW is the manufacturer that refused to use the popular and well developed Magneti Marelli electronics and opted to develop their own in-house system, the main reason for 3 years of not winning.

When they see the cost of competing in GP (even in a spec ecu future) and the inability to develop or tie directly to a street machine they will realize that yet another marketing effort is not worth that much.


teams and factories strip stock stuff off of even Superstock bikes.
To me a blipper or a quickshifter or a slipper clutch is about as much use in a race between people (that is the main point isn't it?) as a headlight.
How much do all those potentiometers weigh/cost? Ban them outside of MGP.

Just because some road bikes have stuff doesn't mean a race bike needs it. Learn how to fan a clutch - what a wonderful skill, whilst you blip the throttle and change down whilst pulling on the brake lever...fantastic.

Call it weight reduction, not dumbing down.

I cannot see the problem of fitting someone else's ECU.

I would prefer to see treaded tyres too in SBK.

For most people this is sport, not war - you don't need to kill the other guy with your technology. Let's keep the human riding the thing as the most important factor - teams might even start paying all of them then, not just the top few.

re: "This is the main aim of both championships - reducing costs and increasing the show."

who's show carmelo...? yours or worldsupers...?

from my read, (ducati dominance notwithstanding) there ain't been much in need of "increasing" with WSBK in a decade:

the bayliss/edwards battle in '02, the first suzuki title with corser in '05, the bayliss retirement in '08, the crossplane commercialization by yamaha and subsequent rookie spies paddock STEAMROLL in '09, and the 3-way "battle royale with cheese" this year in 2012, etc.

if there IS anything "broke", i contend it isn't something SOOO BAD that we need YOU to step in for the flamminis to handle it. if you're going to make blanket statements, i caution you against assuming that EVERYONE your speaking to hasn't been paying attention the past decade... 'cause some of us have.

re: "The attempt by the Flamminis to defend what they saw as their interests was doomed to be quashed by Bridgepoint, who want to see the two series working together rather than competing."

this has been my point for some time now... the 2 series are competing over what is ever-dwindling NICHE business (not BIG business).

if we're going to be diplomatic towards both franchises, the true endgame of this merger is for the "fan-sumers" to be STRIPPED of their ability to choose. that's right, stripped of their ability to choose one series over the other. when given "choice" we have shown that we (collectively) cannot be responsible with it.

btw, by "stripped" i mean when YOU/ME/WE/I/US go to buy a ticket for a race in the UNIFIED WORLD CHAMPIONSHIP, it's a double affair at the 1 circuit. all or nothing. "come for the superbikes, stay for the grandprix...!" or vice-versa (whatever), bill it however you want. don't like it...? no worries, i'm sure there's an OBSCENELY expensive F1 ticket out there with your name on it. for those on the couch, today we have 6 races shown across the globe... tommorrow...? we STILL have 6 races shown across the globe. everybody retains most if not ALL their USP's. the only workable solution is the one i propose. it's as close to WIN/WIN/WIN as it gets.

Q: so ya gotta wonder, if BP was interested in having the 2 series work together... how is EZPELATA in charge of BOTH series a reflection of that...?

A: it isn't.

Hi to tttom. While a small number of enthusiasts get a woodie over limited edition motorcycles, allowing them to race in SWC is suicide. Honda made the RC30 in time for the first season in SWC. Could you see one in your local dealership? The bikes were expensive, and the race kit cost twice the price of the bike. When Kawasaki built its ZXR750 and made race kit parts available to reasonable cost - not HRC's king's ransom - more Kawasakis appeared on the grid. Yamaha made its own homologation special in the OW01 - a shockingly bad motorcycle that cost $35,000, then you had to buy the race kit. Thankfully it never won the SWC. Then along comes Honda with another 'special, the RC45. Ever seen one of them on a dealer's floor? But Honda messed up the chassis geometry so it did not win the SWC until 1997 - four seasons after its introduction. The next 'homologation' special from Honda was the RC51 V-twin. The stock bike was pretty tame, and again, to make it competitive required the GDP of a small nation. Money that went straight to HRC. The SWC model was unsustainable at national championship level, where most distributors preferred racing motorcycles they actually sold in quantity. The Flamminis have presided over a steady, gradual decline in SWC. In the early years, wild-card riders could qualify well and have a shot at winning, which is what drew crowds to Donington Park, Brands Hatch, the Oesterichring and even the nasty, concrete-lined Oran Park. But the Flamminis had delusions of grandeur, allowing ridiculous things such as the Petronas triple into the game. This was NEVER a production bike. So I won't be shedding any tears for the Flamminis's departure. The current SWC grid is shrinking rapidly. Will there be even 18 bikes on the grids next year? BMW gone as a factory team, Team Effenbert - four bikes, gone. ParkinGO? Team Pedercini? So clearly, the factories do not see the current SWC as viable, cost wise, hence the new 'draft' rules above. Oh yes, we'll also chuck out quick-shifters and any other paraphenalia that replaces what a decent rider should be able to do himself. Think AMA dirt-track, only road-racing (but we will keep the brakes!)...

Ezpeleta is cunning, I suspect he already had some info on the Bridgepoint takeover while planning his CRT scheme.
Now all of a sudden its seems unrealistic to have a Grand Prix class (CRT) with bikes thwarted by even the slowest of WSBK bikes.
Think about it: Randy de Puniet has been screaming all year for a "Max Biaggi special engine", at least for races with a long straight. Yeah, sure! So that Gresini can claim it for peanuts and give it to Ten Kate (who prepares his CRT 'Blade) to "explore" it? De Puniet never had any chance and this made the whole CRT idea seem ridiculous. Wouldn't Edwards love to have a Melandri engine?

Superbikes will definitely move towards a Superstock direction, while top WSBK tech will relocate to CRT pitboxes. It's the shape of things to come, whether we like it or not.

By the way, don't cry for the Flaminis.
They'll be in charge of marketing for both GP and WSBK.
Italians, they always float.

One thing at least I won't miss is WSBK magic rules, like fitting ballast to twins every time they turn out to be 'too successful'. The Flamminis spent almost a decade juggling withdrawal threats, one year the Japanese, the next Ducati. Let's now see Ezpeleta ruling with a hammer.

And let's not forget that when GP250 were scrapped we all screamed in disgust, but how about this Moto2 frenzy? Actually there are days that after watching the two smaller classes I just don't care about neatly spaced MotoGP beasts coasting around. Too much horsepower is spectacle's enemy and these 1000s didn't make any difference to the 800s. How did Burgess put it? If you want close racing make 'em all 600s...