BMW Motorrad ‘Strategically Realigns’ Itself out of WSBK

07/25/2013 @ 1:22 pm, by Jensen Beeler37 COMMENTS

BMW Motorrad Strategically Realigns Itself out of WSBK marco melandri bmw motorrad goldbet sbkw monza wsbk 635x439

Fresh on the team’s 1-2 victory at Moscow Raceway, BMW Motorrad has dropped a bomb on the World Superbike paddock, announcing that it would no long support a factory team in the production-based series — effective at the end of the 2013 season. In other words, Marco Melandri and Chaz Davies will be unemployed in a few months’ time.

Citing a “strategic realignment” of the company’s resources in motorsport, the move by BMW Motorrad is perhaps unsurprising, as zie Germans consolidated their WSBK efforts this year, with the factory supporting BMW Italia’s BMW Motorrad Goldbet SBK team, rather than fielding two efforts in the series.

BMW Motorrad says some of the resources currently in World Superbike will go towards other racing efforts, though didn’t name which series would benefit from the restructuring. BMW Motorrad did say though that the realignment is part of a larger plan within BMW to reposition the company’s brand and activities.

“BMW Motorrad Motorsport will end its involvement in the World Superbike Championship after this season,” said Stephan Schaller, General Director BMW Motorrad. “This is consistent with the strategic realignment of our brand.”

“BMW Motorrad will now focus on the further expansion of the very successful product portfolio over 500 cc, the expansion of product segments under 500 cc, e-mobility and the development of market potential in emerging economies like Brazil and Asia.”

“Only those who act consistently today are well prepared for the challenges of tomorrow. BMW Motorrad will remain involved in motorsport and in doing so we will focus on the international customer sport in all its facets. I want to thank everybody who has supported us on this long and successful journey.”

Source: BMW Motorrad; Photo: WorldSBK

Comment:

  1. yungjaxxx says:

    Stinks.

  2. Ian says:

    Win on Sunday, quit series on Monday.

    Official statement should have simply read: “We are spending too much to race and not getting the ROI we had hope for”.

    This sucks!!

  3. Mariani says:

    I feel like going on a rant about how BMW stopped caring about anything other than brand recognition for quite a while now.

    Surely, I can’t be the only one who perceives them that way.

    Specially if there’s anyone in here who follows their car brand.

    Needless to say, those are bad news, of course.

  4. Ian says:

    @Mariani,

    They really care about the products they bring to market as well. I would say they put maximum effort into the products and let the actual product build the brand.

    I saw a long documentary on BMW and it detailed how methodical they are in developing every single detail of each product. Someone at BMW was probably equally methodical at calculating the ROI for racing in WSBK…..and the numbers didn’t add up.

    To pull out when you are winning more year by year and right there fighting for the championship…that speaks volumes.

  5. Bill says:

    Since there is no other series of prominence they race motorcycles in maybe they are taking Melandri and Chaz to Moto GP.

  6. Mariani says:

    @Ian

    That’s not quite what I meant. True, they do care about quality and engineering, but they have long distanced from their driver-oriented image.

    I will spare us all of my purist, ‘man’s-interaction-with-machine’ point of view, but think of the reasons I like the E30, and not the E90.

    Other than that, I should compare this very move of theirs to listening to the head of Subaru saying that they only went rallying in order to boost sales. At the time, it infuriated me.

    [Poor, poor Mariani!]

    I get it, I’m a silly romantic when it comes to racing, but doesn’t it frustrate you when Beemer treats racing as marketing?

  7. TexusTim says:

    so were does this put there superbike efforts if not in wsbk ?

  8. Andrew says:

    Jensen, I think it’s time Asphalt and Rubber dropped that ‘zie Germans/Austrians’ shtick…. sure, it had us all in stitches the first thousand times, but now it is starting to grate.

  9. Andrew, I disagree. It’s still funny if you do a German accent in your head when you read it.

  10. Ken says:

    I think it’s because of the way Dorna is ‘re-aligning’ it’s championships to make sure MotoGP stays the top show, especially with Rossi’s retirement imminent.

  11. Laurencio says:

    Poor Marco Melandri has been on a streak of bad luck. Kawasaki/Hayate, Yamaha, and now BWM. A superstitious team/factory racing manager might think twice about this.

  12. KK says:

    They go through all the effort of putting out a kick ass liter bike and develop it in a very short time to be a top level winning bike and then just drop….

    what a waste.

  13. Flyingfox says:

    I’m not surprised, I would wager that BMW will leave the WSBK to privateers and they will offer factory support to the chosen ones.
    We will still see BMW in the paddock it just won’t be fully funded by BMW Motorrad. It’s called sub contracting?.
    I don’t like it but I can see why BMW would do it, ROI (return on investment) as has been mentioned by a previously reply.
    I follow Melandri and I think he will have no trouble finding another ride I only hope it’s on a BMW.

  14. 2ndclass says:

    No need for factory-level involvment if WSBK goes to a Superstock/BSB EVO-type class. They can just develop kits and customer bikes and offer technical support.

  15. Spamtasticus says:

    As the first privateer to campaign the S1000RR in the US I think that if this means they will take that WSBK money and effort and redirect it to supporting customer efforts then its a great thing. The only support I have received has been from my local dealer with no other incentive than a bad ass racebike sitting in the showroom floor.

  16. Gutterslob says:

    Not really surprising. They’ve done this before. Join a series with a big bunch of promises and hoopla, and then get themselves butthurt and withdraw. In F1 – first screwing Williams over and then their own factory team – leaving the teams fractured and on the brink. Similar behavior in DTM, iirc. Also in WRC with their Mini brand – left after a year or two, blaming the rules and costs.

    Unless they have MotoGP plans (doubtful), this is basically the same thing they’re doing now. At least they’ve been competitive in WSBK, though looking at the amount they spend compared to the other teams, they really should have a championship or two under their belt already. I suppose they figured that if they still haven’t won a title while spending near-GP money in the current SBK environment, there’s no way they’ll manage that once the rules change next year and costs are brought down.

  17. Dc4go says:

    This sucks that leaves Aprilia, Ducati, Honda, Kawi , and Suzuki.. I thought BMW was in it to win it guess it just took to long for them.

  18. Mariano says:

    @ Amdrew…..I guess I’m not the only one annoyed by the use of “zie” all the time. ” After the jump” is also getting on my nerves….

  19. Norm G. says:

    re: “No need for factory-level involvement if WSBK goes to a Superstock/BSB EVO-type class.”

    and there it is. the S1 has already won superstock twice. it’s going to be the hot ticket item under the austerity sanctions the Empire’s imposing upon the rebels. BMW’s philosophy has always been that everyone pays for the Roundel, not the Roundel paying for anything. while I did think/hope this time was going to be different, it is true, they are notorious for bailing on their motorsport activities (which goes back to my previous sentence).

    they’ve cancelled Christmas on every bike side race effort as well. Dakar they dropped when the rules changed, but then they built a 450 and dropped that. the boxer cup came and went as did the power cup. the HP2 endurance effort was living on borrowed time anyway since the S1 was obviously on the drawing board. Larry Pegram switched to Yamaha for this year and stated outright that with BMW there was ZERO support.

    in their defense, that’s not to say it was always this way, it could have dried up when their was no announcement of a TV package. so if you’re familiar with the brand’s behavior over the years, this wasn’t completely unpredictable. unlike other companies, yes, the corporate bean counters ARE paying attention. it’s either do your job, or get FORCE CHOKED by vader… and geez who wants that…?

  20. Norm G. says:

    re: “if this means they will take that WSBK money and effort and redirect it to supporting customer efforts then its a great thing”.

    I wouldn’t get too attached to that. with what’s recently occurred, with what I said above bike side, and what Gutter said about car side, there is likely to be an “invisible countdown timer” ticking away the seconds on that also. anything where THEY are spending money as opposed to YOU uploading cash to them isn’t going to last very long. this is business 101 after all.

  21. smiler says:

    What they are going to do is this
    “BMW Motorrad will now focus on the further expansion of the very successful product portfolio over 500 cc, the expansion of product segments under 500 cc, e-mobility “.

    So they are going moped racing clearly.

    What is so ironic about this is all the people who slag off Ducati, ran to BMW as the new big hope in WSBK. Look forward to seeing the 1199 on the podium next year as Ducati celebrates over 25 years in WSB.

  22. Thefundaddy says:

    Can/will Goldbet not just run as a privateer team next year? No support won’t help and Marco might have take a pay cut, but they’ve got a bike that can win races in superbike and superstock.

    If the team disbands you might find Loris Baz loses his ride to Melandri. I think Davies belongs in the MotoGP paddock, and he’ll show up a few people even on a CRT/non-MSMA bike.

  23. Gutterslob says:

    Re: Look forward to seeing the 1199 on the podium next year as Ducati celebrates over 25 years in WSB.

    But, but ……. tis got no frame!!!

  24. Jimbo says:

    I would love it if BMW came to Moto GP – the more factory teams the better! We have Suzuki back in 2015, if we had BMW as well that would be great. Then just need to tempt Kawasaki back!

  25. philly phil says:

    that sucks…but why would they care about WSBK if the damn series isn’t really on TV!

    We need to get WSBK back on regular tv or major cable stations…beINSports is not big enough to carry WSBK!

    this sucks, no Ducati factory team, no BMW factory team…and no WSBK on tv… the series’ future is looking bleak

  26. controvento says:

    they are leaving because of Dorna,perhaps?

  27. alex says:

    vote with your dollars

  28. Norm G. says:

    re: “that sucks…but why would they care about WSBK if the damn series isn’t really on TV! We need to get WSBK back on regular tv or major cable stations…beINSports is not big enough to carry WSBK!”

    good point. I forgot about the hoop jump I had to go through just to get BEiN. many haven’t been as lucky.

    re: “the series’ future is looking bleak”

    the shroud of the dark side has fallen, begun the clone war has. (yoda voice)

  29. proudAmerican says:

    Sitting in your front-row seat, with the safety bar still pulled over your lap, you’re exhausted and elated, but nonetheless bewildered as you find yourself at the end of a very brief, but very intense amusement park roller coaster ride.

    As it pulls back into the station, you look at the attendant and inquire, “that was it?!”

  30. meatspin says:

    dorna is technically dumbing down the series anyways. You cant see it on TV, so I really cant blame BMW.

    Such a move might appear hasty, but perhaps this can be a sign that the factory is gearing up for a push into MotoGP.

  31. Marc says:

    It sucks for racing, but it isn’t a manufacturers job to subsidize our entertainment. If they’re not getting good value out of the racing (whether in marketing or in R&D), it’s better for their product and their customer to save the money or spend it elsewhere.

    They needed to prove that the S1000RR was the real deal. It took a factory effort, but they’ve done that. Now the bikes are developed enough to compete without factory support. They either feel like they don’t have that much more to learn from WSBK for their next gen sportbike, or that the series isn’t providing good exposure for the money, or some combination of both. I’d blame that on the racing body, not the manufacturer.

  32. Ba Wild says:

    Perhaps I am alone in thinking this is a good thing.

    Manufacturers shouldn’t be in WSB. Their participation should end when they sell their product. WSB was started intended to be a privateers championship- anyone can buy a bike and with skill and, yes, money are able to compete, even with a chance to win. Manufacturer involvement ensure that cannot happen and it becomes which factory support their teams the most.

    If that is the racing wanted it should be MotoGP (I suspect that will be where the ‘brand’ end up, supported by their own words). Prototypes will always be easier for manufacturers in a four stroke era- as has been shown, no others can win. Having a clear delineation between series, purpose and support is the only way to have two series. In recent years the grey areas have cost both series.

  33. Norm G. says:

    re: “Manufacturers shouldn’t be in WSB.”

    carmelo…? is that you…!?

    re: “Having a clear delineation between series, purpose and support is the only way to have two series.”

    don’t forget a clear delineation in ownership.

    re: “In recent years the grey areas have cost both series.”

    no just grandprix. wait, this IS ezpelata isn’t it…? :)

  34. Ba Wild says:

    Norm G,

    I don’t mind or even expect people to disagree but what are you saying exactly? I agree, BTW that there should be separate ownership but what that has to do with my point I am unsure.

    In recent years participant numbers have fallen drastically in both classes, not just GPs and in Moscow just 11 bikes completed the race and two of them were not on the same lap. Are you suggesting that is healthy?

    WSB has become too expensive and with factory backing has ended up driving the people whom were supposed to compete out of the series. It was intended to be a privateer sport. Whereby race teams would purchase a road bike and adapt, as well as their skill and budget allowed, to a race package. It was on these terms the FIM sanctioned the formation of the series, acknowledging that manufacturers have finished their job in production racing when they have produced the bike. If they want to prove how advanced their factory or engineers are, they should be in prototype racing, proving their worth against equals rather than spending their way to championships.

    You may disagree with this as an idea or philosophy but that was the intention. While there is (fag) money to burn perhaps grey areas are expected but they are not supportable in two series indefinitely.

    As I say, please disagree with me if you have something of worth to say but simply ‘shouting’, YOU’RE WRONG and calling me names (calling me Carmelo Ezpeleta is surely a grave insult) does not add to your cause.

  35. Ian says:

    BMW to Moto GP would be epic!!!!! You know they would come to the table with showstopping bikes and put top rate riders on them too.

    Too bad nobody really high up at BMW wants to get into a pissing contest with the other manufacturers!

    At the end of the day all of the manufacturers and sponsors go racing to compete for the glory and the fame. Racing is a money pit on every level.

    Why are German people so calculated and rational?!?!

  36. Ba Wild says:

    Ian, you could bet your house BMW will be in MotoGP within a couple of years. This is the first step in the shake-up regarding the purpose of both championships.

  37. Singletrack says:

    Now that Audi/VW owns Ducati, I’d bet that BMW sees an opportunity to beat their German rival with a MotoGP entry. (Albeit not to hard to do at this point in time).