World Superbikes To Set Up Series To Rival Red Bull Rookies?

The World Superbike series has long watched the Red Bull Rookies Cup in envy, as talent from the series - and its predecessor, the Grand Prix Academy - starts to flow into the 125cc series and up into the higher classes. The Red Bull Rookies Cup has clearly served as a talent pool for Dorna, and encouraged young riders towards Grand Prix machinery, and away from production-based racing.

Now, though, Infront seems set to go on the counter attack. has learned that the World Superbike series is planning to start a rival youth series, based around racing 250cc four-stroke street bikes, lightly modified to make them race worthy. The series could be launched as early as 2011, and the idea is to produce a "junior cup" in which to bring talent on ready for entry into Superstock, World Supersport and finally World Superbikes. The series is to be aimed at 14-17 year olds, taking riders from around the world and putting them in a professional racing environment, so they can learn just what it takes to be a professional motorcycle racer. understands that the series will be a one-make class, with all of the riders on identical machinery. No details are available concerning the manufacturer involved, but has strong indications that the bikes are to be supplied by a major Japanese manufacturer. Given Kawasaki's current increasing interest in the World Superbike series, and a ready supply of Kawasaki 250R Ninjas, our educated guess is that the new "WSBK Junior" series will be racing on green bikes.

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.... good news.

Getting young riders on race bikes.

I guess if the RBRC has worked so well, then the WSB gang will try and cash in.

Lets face it, it cant be a bad thing.

Bayliss is (was) from WSB, Edwards is from WSB, and just today, K SuperGlue is this WSS Champ racing with the Moto2 boys.

Great stuff. Good luck to them.

Bayliss got his break on the world scene when he came 6th as a wildcard in the 250gp at phillip island.
Edwards too, I believe, spent a some of his early career on 250s. So, if you want to succeed in GPs, grow up riding GP bikes.
If the new series sparks interest in properly sportier smaller bikes (and the ninja 250 does NOT fall into this description) leading to more choice in this forgotten market, then it will be good.

A bike like the Ninja 250 may have it's place in racing, but I agree that most production smaller displacement bikes are not 'sportier' or 'small'. The new CBR250 is kinda sad weighing 365 lbs and being the same size as a 600RR. Kinda pointless. The Ninja is of the same mold. The problem is that there aren't many small, truly sporting bikes out there. If they really wanted to get them young, inspire the young audience and use machines that are really production bikes, then they should use scooters. Baring that, they should appeal to the global audience and race air cooled 125s.

The STK250/600/1000 could be a very successful formula. I think these prototypes disguised as 'production' bikes are kind of a joke.

If you think the Ninja 250s can't make a good cheap track bike I'd suggest you watch an AFM 250cc Production race at Sears Point or Thunderhill some time.

ttom is right. It's true the speeds are slow but it teaches those youngsters corner speed. Besides watching young CJ Weaver in the AFM series sliding both front and rear wheels going through T1 at Thunderhill is very entertaining.

but hoping for a new breed of 250cc race bikes because with the two stroke virtually gone little race bikes need to be reincarnated

When we were racing in the Italian championship earlier in the year, they had Ninja 250's racing ... slow but hey the kids were out there.

The problem with this infighting between GP and SBK is for the young talent.
I think its safe to presume,that should you ask any aspiring youngster whether he would rather stand on top of the MotoGP podium or the SBK podium,he would opt for the former.
Clearly,should that be the aspiration,the path is Red Bull,Moto 3 etc.
A handfull,but I reckon,even fewer riders will be given the opportunity to switch from SBK to GP once they've reached the pinnacle in SBK.
The reverse is not true.I reckon ex GP talent will always find an open door in SBK.
Nevertheless,it does create a great new avenue and the cream will rise to the top.

The GP/Red Bull route has it's limits. Not everyone can go that route. Either perceived talent, finances or politics will keep many out. Any chance is good for younger talent to get out there. Although I do not see the need for a 14yo to globe trot. IMO, 16 is early enough for any world level competition.

Also, the idea that to aspire to "only" be WSB champ, is an idea I frown on. Only a few people in the world can say they have done it. Any world title is pretty awesome. GP has been in a flux since it left the 500cc formula. They can't figure out what they want to do, so the best path (Superbike, WSS, 250s, Moto2) is still unclear.

Riding underpowered street bikes doesn't really teach you much and costs a fortune compared to riding a methanol buring beast in flat track, every Australian GP rider began with dirt track racing.

As an example

2010 Kawasaki Ninja 250R
Engine and Transmission

Engine: Four-stroke, liquid-cooled, DOHC, parallel twin
Displacement: 249cc
Bore x stroke: 62.0 x 41.2mm
Compression ratio: 11.6:1
Maximum torque: 22 Nm 2.24 kgf/m 16.2 lb-ft / 9,500 rpm
Cooling: Liquid
Carburetion: Keihin CVK30 x 2
Ignition: Digital
Transmission: Six-speed
Final drive: O-ring chain

Chassis and Dimensions

Frame: Semi-double cradle, high-tensile steel
Wheelbase: 55.1 in.
Rake / trail: 26 degrees / 3.2 in.
Front suspension / wheel travel: 37mm hydraulic telescopic fork / 4.7 in.
Rear suspension / wheel travel: Bottom-Link Uni-Trak® with 5-way adjustable preload / 5.1 in.
Front tire: 110/70-17
Rear tire: 130/70-17
Front brake: Single 290mm hydraulic petal disc with two-piston caliper
Rear brake: Single 220mm petal disc with two-piston caliper
Overall length: 82.1 in.
Overall width: 28.1 in.
Overall height: 43.7 in.
Seat height: 30.5 in.
Curb weight: 374.9 lbs.
Fuel capacity: 4.8 gal

375Lbs = 170Kilo's!! and 30BHP and a road oriented chassis.

shouldnt the under 16's be on lighter more race oriented bikes?