WSBK Bikes To Be Price-capped At 250,000 Euros Per Season?

Now that it has the World Superbike series under its control, Dorna is turning its attention to the question of costs. It was an issue which, WSBK insiders claim, the Flammini brothers and Infront spent too little time on, preferring to focus on trying to compete with MotoGP instead. The series' critics charge that this obsession caused WSBK to allow bikes into the series which were more like MotoGP prototypes than production road bikes. The Aprilia RSV4 is one of the bikes most often named in this regard, though perhaps the most extreme example was the Foggy Petronas FP3 machine, of which the entire homologation run is rumored to be stored in a warehouse owned by the Malaysian oil company in Kuala Lumpur. As a result, grids have shrunk from around thirty starters in 2009 to just twenty in 2013.

Dorna's solution is a mixture of methods gleaned from their recent experience in MotoGP: price caps and pressure on the manufacturers to reduce costs of their own accord. In an interview with the German-language website Speedweek, Carmelo Ezpeleta said that their aim is to have all manufacturers supply teams with bikes at a cost of 250,000 euros per rider. Included in that amount would be two bikes per rider, and full support to complete an entire season. Only crash damage would be excluded from the quarter of a million per season, that being a cost which is outside the control of the factories. In addition, Ezpeleta said each manufacturer had to be prepared to supply up to six riders with equipment, should there be sufficient interest, a measure currently being enforced in Moto3.

How such substantial price reductions - according to the Speedweek article, a competitive WSBK machine currently costs around 300,000 euros per bike - are to be achieved is entirely up to the manufacturers. Ezpeleta has told the MSMA that he expects to receive proposals from them in the next three or four months. If they cannot come up with a set of technical regulations which would reduce costs to the required level, Ezpeleta will impose his own rules, bringing the machines pretty close to Superstock level.

This is very similar to the tactic which Ezpeleta used against the factories in MotoGP. Since 2009, Dorna had been pressing the MSMA to provide affordable machinery, either by building production racers or allowing engines to be leased at a much lower cost than entire satellite machines. The MSMA members consistently refused, saying that they had no interest in making a production racer, and putting the minimum price for leasing an engine at around 70% of an entire satellite machine. But with the introduction of the CRT machines, and the threat of a rev limit and spec ECU software, the manufacturers finally succumbed, realizing that Ezpeleta was prepared to race in MotoGP without any factory involvement. A compromise was reached, whereby Honda promised to start building a production version of its RC213V for sale to MotoGP teams, and Yamaha agreed to lease engines to teams at a much reduced price.

Ezpeleta's hope in World Superbikes is that the factories will find a way to cut costs of their own accord. The Japanese factories especially fear a Superstock-based series, as Ducati and BMW have dominated Superstock for many years now, with Kawasaki the only Japanese manufacturer to get close. Threatened with a series which would put them at a disadvantage - or make them invest heavily in a manufacturing segment where it is very difficult to recoup the investment, without leveraging the premium commanded by luxury brands such as BMW and Ducati - Dorna's hope is that the MSMA can come up with a set of technical rules which would cut costs back to affordable levels again. Cheaper bikes should also see a return to fuller grids once again, and the requirement for each factory to supply six riders, if they have the requests, should mean that there is more parity between the officially-backed teams and the privateer WSBK squads.

Though the manufacturers will want to avoid a completely Superstock set of regulations for World Superbike, it is unlikely that the bikes will continue at their current spec. Dorna also wants to make the distinction between the MotoGP and World Superbike machines much more clear, and reducing the performance of WSBK is part of that goal. Bringing WSBK closer to Superstock spec will also make it easier for national wildcards to compete in WSBK rounds, as most national series now have their Superbike classes running in near-Superstock trim.

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“Though the manufacturers will want to avoid a completely Superstock set of regulations for World Superbike…” At €250k for two motorbikes, wouldn't we be pretty much at the Superstock level anyway?

The price does not necessarily have to correspond to the cost. If the manufacturers want to sell 500K motorcycles to the teams for 250K, then they need not be Superstock spec.

I thought they had put measures in place, the headlamp stickers (very cheap) takes up valuable sponsorship space therefore less money equals slower bikes.
250k still seems a bit high although when you consider that CE11's winning SP2 cost 500k in 2002, quite cheap.
Does anybody else other than me remember the rule made for 2001 and then promptly scrapped to go head on with Motogp? (to go with the court action of 2001, 2009 and 2011. Hot air)
The 19k kit rule was to be a kit bought from the manufacturer and the kits were to be homologated and the only ones used, course Motogp announced 4t and Flamini scrapped it last minute leaving Honda and Yamaha with trackday bikes, no wonder they pulled out.

re: "250k still seems a bit high although when you consider that CE11's winning SP2 cost 500k in 2002".

naw, i'm thinking that's the total value (intangibles like boffin expertise, windtunnel, playin around with exhaust systems, etc. included) of what HRC spent the year they WON the title. the only persons who had access to anything like that were miquel and nicky (coincidentally also the year he beat mladin to the crown and also spent time in the tunnel). the customer SP2 racer with the kit parts already installed, harness, radiator, swingarm, exhaust, etc. was offered for $101,000 (or maybe it was $110?). the factory 998R F02's were pushing a $1/4 mill back then.

This seems like another strategic block to HRC. After announcing their aim to build a new world beating homologation RC with a rumored price north of six figures this news might cramp that ambition. Maybe the new V4 superbike might have to be more RC51 special than RC30/45 special.

WSBK is a complicated situation so it's hard to interpret this news. I guess the price cap tells us that they haven't determined how to rid WSBK of prototype parts; therefore, leasing will still be necessary in the near term.

I can't determine the source of the friction between Dorna and the MSMA, but it seems to be related to the homologation papers. Dorna may control the rulebook, but the FIM/MSMA control homologation so Dorna can only pressure them to make changes. The good news is that everyone has a vested interest in using SBK racing to sell Superbikes to race teams and track day enthusiasts. Revenues from SBK can be used to fund GP efforts, rather than the current situation where WSBK takes funding away from GP.

Personally, I hope they go back to homologation specials, but this time they homologate racing equipment for competition, rather than road-bikes. The FIM would only homologate a 'Superstock' model at current production quantities, to keep the sport road-relevant. Then they would allow the manufacturers to build a race bike from the Superstock homologation. The FIM could even homologate different Superbike specs by having a 'national' Superbike and an 'international' Superbike. All series could adopt one 'Superstock' rulebook, but they could choose their price point based upon the homologation specials they allow.

The R-spec production bikes would be reverse engineered from the racing specials, and the R-spec road bikes would not need to be homologated. This arrangement should fix the 750cc era problem, when some teams could afford to build R-spec racers for competition, and other manufacturers could not.

Regardless of the rulebook or the homologation papers, SBK racing (production racing) should be generating direct profits to fuel GP budgets. No more begging shareholders for racing money.

re: "WSBK is a complicated"

no it's not, but you sure are making it complicated. :) somebody needs to READ the FIM rule book (not just flip thru the pages). as the frenchmen say...


re: "Revenues from SBK can be used to fund GP efforts, rather than the current situation where WSBK takes funding away from GP."

or...? revenues from SBK can be used to fund SBK efforts and ezpelata and his MotoGP can pound sand.

How does setting price limits on "customer" bikes help at all when there are really only two factory teams in the championship providing support (BMW and Aprilia)? I thought most/all of the R&D was done by the teams with limited factory support?

I was thinking the same thing.

And how does it prevent a manufacturer from making a $500,000 bike and a $250,000 one and "selling" the cheap one to satellite teams for full price and "selling" the expensive one to factory-supported teams and eating the loss (which is, of course, what "factory-supported" actually means?)

Oh well, it doesn't seem like it would do any harm, and if Carmelo feels he's doing something, let him feel good.

But man, while I love the racing, it'll be real interesting to see Dorna's bean-counters trying to figure out how much money the Aprilia Factory charged the Aprilia Racing Team - or how much money Kawasaki Heavy Industries charged Kawasaki Racing Team - for a bike.

To borrow from Douglas Adams, the financial path is not only "merely curved, it is in fact totally bent."

WSBK has more than two factory teams, but the manufacturers disguise the situation on purpose. Long story short, the manufacturers agreed to withdraw factory teams for the 1000cc era. The Flamminis felt like they were getting the short end of the stick. They changed the WSBK rulebook to require a level of technology that would force the manufacturers to participate. After the rules changes, the Japanese factories still refused to put their names on the factory race teams b/c they agreed not to run factory teams. Also, WSBK does not have a revenue-sharing agreement with the MSMA (allegedly).

WSBK has factory levels of spending, but, without the factory names, WSBK does not have factory levels of revenue and sponsorship interest. Obviously, this revenue-expenditure imbalance is the first place to start making improvements to SBK. Since SBK is production racing, eliminating the prototype racing development is probably mandatory. The factory team nomenclature might be negotiable.

If WSBK already has 7 factory teams (some temporarily withdrawn or operating in disguise), and those factory teams are burning through money anyway, the purpose of price-capped leases is evident. Dorna want to put a lot more equipment on the grid, and they want to relocate displaced Superstock 1000 riders (if SStk is scrapped). By setting a low lease price and a high supply quantity, Dorna are basically maximizing the cost of the current rulebook and homologation papers. Dorna want influence someone......and make them do something.

My gut tells me that Kawasaki and Aprilia are the target. They have the most to lose from SBK returning to its roots. BMW might seem like a possible target, but I think they would sell out their SBK program in a heartbeat for a seat at the MotoGP table.

I know I'm the lone nut here, but why the "fear" of a shift to a superstock level?
In AMA it has worked, before we had races of one or two racers a mile ahead of the rest, when the bikes were "dumbed down" we have many more teams creeping to the front and better races.

Me, as a consumer and an avid watcher of all series, I buy bikes and if I see a Honda up front, I'd like to think that the bike I can purchase at the dealer has some resemblance to the one that is winning "out there". Perhaps thats why I watch SS with interest, to see which are the really "fast bikes" out of the crate, with the mods that we can reasonably purchase to make our bikes fly!

BMW and Ducati has shown that indeed, their bikes seem to be raceable from the crate, duhh...they cost 2-3 times more than a blue-red-gree-yellow bike, thats kind of obvious, but then if you ask for a WSBK "kit" it costs a 100,000$ and you practically scrap everything sans the black part of the tire!

I don't see the why the fear of shifting WSBK closer to stock , indeed, I would like to see that happening, isn't SBK intended to showcase the "win on Sunday sell on Monday" phrase? I can't see myself buying a CBR1000 than calling for 75,000$ on goodies to make it race-worthy!! I'd like to see then sorting out who made the best bike in their R&D departments, all year long.

That's what MotoGP is supposed to be for, for the factories to showcase "what can be done" and let WSBK showcase "what you* can do"....anyways they look fast on the TV screen regardless if they're doing 187mph or 199mph and the look even better when theres a bunch of them close by.

I might be wrong of course, but I know I represent a sector of the bike consuming population, weekend amateur racers.Perhaps with that rule out there, the factories will put more emphasis on building really solid bikes for us the consumer,rather than look-alike copies for ignorants!

AMA SBK is not superstock. One problem with using superstock as the premier class is that it doesn't make race bikes more stock; it makes stock bikes more race.

Furthermore, the manufacturers are well aware of our self-destructive purchasing tendencies. Who in their right mind would purchase a 200hp 1000cc bike, when zero-cost displacement can create a 200hp 1300cc bike with double the reliability? Who in their right mind would race a 215hp 1000cc SBK, when a 215hp 1300cc SBK could be raced at lower cost?

The manufacturers know that consumers believe displacement-limited racing technology is good for them. Why would they sell us a 200hp 1300cc bike, when they could easily sell us a 250hp 1300cc bike? If the stock bike makes 250hp, how can they possibly race a low-cost 215hp version in SBK?

The manufacturers, particularly the Japanese, are certainly working on the superbike market failure. The easy solution is to head upmarket, where customers have enough money to make inefficient purchases. The difficult solution is to change the homologation papers and sanctioning methods such that the stock bikes have restricted performance and displacement-limited race technology no longer drives consumption.

re: "One problem with using superstock as the premier class is that it doesn't make race bikes more stock; it makes stock bikes more race."

that's a problem...? :)

re: "I know I'm the lone nut here, but why the "fear" of a shift to a superstock level?"

2 words... also ignorance.

most haven't been around bikes long enough to possess any kind of historical reference of where we are now in the 21st century...? compared to where we came from in the 80's/90's.

carbs vs. FI, conventional forks vs. USD, std brakes vs. radial monoblocks, cast 3-spokes vs. forged 10-spokes, 500+ lbs wet vs 400+ lbs wet, 125hp vs. 185hp, etc. ladle on top of this a "devaluing mentality" and it's real easy to see how we find ourselves in this handbasket.

listen to me now and believe me later (hanz and franz voice)... ANY 1000cc bike currently produced by ANY manufacturer found on the floor of ANY local dealership, is in fact a SUPERBIKE. right then, it's official, you may now retire the misnomer "superstock" to the history books.

This line from you is a little too harse "Perhaps with that rule out there, the factories will put more emphasis on building really solid bikes for us the consumer,rather than look-alike copies for ignorants!"

For the average consumer, and even still most of the weekend racer, the bikes being produced far exceed that in which the user can handle.

To say the current generation of liter bikes are not solid is, IMO, far from reality.

Me personally I want WSBK to remain "super bikes". I do not want a World Stock Racing Series.

Correct me if I am wrong, but there are rules written within the WSBK series stating that any parts used must be homologated, meaning any Joe Snuffy can buy them, even if that means the parts cost more than my annual income.

Wouldn't making them more superstock benefit the end consumer? Costs for both series have to get under control. World recession, slow down in sales, I mean something has to be done. I do not have the answer but neither does anyone else. At some point someone is going to have to put forth some rule changes that make sense for now and the future.

I think BSB, AMA, and WSBK need to align (as well as Aussie Superbike, Japanese Superbike) for SBK and SS. This would allow symmetry and a path for domestic series feeding WSBK.

I don't have a problem with Superstock rules. New bikes from the Japanese 4 are already here with TC and a MSRP to reflect the new technology.

On paper, standard, do the japanese bikes really match up to the european?
CBR1000RR vs RSV4
R1 vs Panigale
GSXR1000 vs S1000RR

IMHO WSBK rules at the moment allow a team to purchase a bike and improve it to the level of the competition. $Money spent is limited by the other's competitiveness. What I mean is;

Kawasaki (Tom Sykes) this year achieved a lot of pole positions, so for outright laptime they are the level for the other teams to get to. Kawasaki are in a position to not need to throw $ to gain another 0.5 sec, so they can spend on refinement (so the bike can lap fast all race without destroying tyres halfway thru).

It will increase the disparity between european and japanese bikes if teams/manufacturers can no longer make substantial performance modifications. (What i mean by substantial is either high cost, or a loss of reliability compared to standard. Teams should not be penalised for fixing a design flaw or fault. )

The japanese will need to bring their bikes up to euro spec which will increase costs to the consumers. (ohlins suspension, brembo brakes, or equivalent specification, etc.)

Also the factory standard electronics of honda cbr and suzuki gsxr would have to be improved to the likes of magneti marelli levels. = $ for consumers. Kawasaki team use in house electronics?

The bikes will need their production engines re-developed to mirror current superbike spec and then be sold to the public, with all the added maintenance and costs of that level of tune passed on as well to consumer.

Maybe the bikes are in reality currently too cheap? But I like everyone else relish what we can buy for $20,000 AUD, and would like to keep the bikes that way. If you want to race them, perform the necessary mods.

I'd like to see a little more survival of the fittest and a lot less propping up of failures.

Let racing improve the breed by raising the floor, not lowering the ceiling.

I can dream. Too bad carmelo can't.

Displacement-limited stock racing does not improve the breed, and that's why few professional racing series actually use stock components.

Look at the impact of displacement-limited formulas on the Superbike and Supersport market segments. Though the engines have high power-density, they can scarcely make 20,000km between major valve adjustments. The aggressive riding position is not well-suited to road riding. The seat is too tall for the average person, yet the cockpit is too small for people who fit on the seat. The list of devolutionary road-attributes could be listed for days.

That's not to say that Superbikes and Supersport bikes are bad; instead, riders should notice the gulf between entertaining-to-watch and entertaining-to-own-for-frequent-street-riding.

Let's avoid a bunch of long-winded anecdotes about how good SBKs and SSs really are. They don't sell well, no matter how much we like them. The world does not revolve around our niche. Our niche exists within the real world. Using mods to maintain an arm's-length between the stock bikes and race bikes is actually good for us all.

Not sure about the "don't sell well" part. BMW's just-released sales figures show that the S1000RR is its fourth-best seller among all of its models, with nearly 11,000 units sold in 2012.

I've had manufacturers tell me that their Supersports models aren't very good real-world bikes. But they build them because those are what we buy in the U.S., miserable street bike attributes or not. And they sell better if they're loaded with all the cool s**t that comes on the race bikes.

This type of racing does "improve" the breed - but it improves them into better racebikes, not necessarily better streetbikes. That's why Honda, Aprilia, Ducati, Yamaha, etc., either now or in the past have made expensive homologation specials.

re: "Displacement-limited stock racing does not improve the breed"

correct, that's been homologation's job for the past 25 years.

re: "that's why few professional racing series actually use stock components."

the reason few racing series use stock components is for safety and performance. these 2 qualities are basically interchangable.

re: "The aggressive riding position is not well-suited to road riding. The seat is too tall for the average person, yet the cockpit is too small for people who fit on the seat. The list of devolutionary road-attributes could be listed for days."

why not just buy something else...?

re: "Costs for both series have to get under control."

one of the series anyway.

re: "World recession, slow down in sales, I mean something has to be done."

yup, YOU who are a "fan-sumer" of motorcycling can come off the dime. soccer moms in mini-vans don't give a rats.

re: "I do not have the answer but neither does anyone else."

not true.