When Dorna took over control of the World Superbike Championship, speculation began to fly what the changing of the guard would mean for motorcycling’s premier production-based racing series. Always seen as the annoying little sibling to the prestigious MotoGP World Championship, many have expected to see Dorna cut out a clearer distinction between the two series, with WSBK returning to machines that are closer to stock-spec, while MotoGP continued to play with its CRT formula.
Now, reports out of Europe say Dorna is set to kill the 600cc and 1,000cc superstock classes in 2014, leaving only the superbike and supersport classes for 1,000cc and 600c based racing, respectively. Looking to switch to a three-race format, like in MotoGP, the World Superbike Championship would reportedly add a 250cc production-based class, which would serve as the development class for the series, and would help bolster the new fleet of small-displacement sport bikes OEMs have producing recently.
Always a bit of an oddity, the removal of the two superstock classes makes a great deal of sense for WSBK, and clears the way for the superbike and supersport classes to revert to more sensible and cheaper-to-run production-based specifications for race bikes. One of the major criticisms of the current crop of WSBK bikes is their detachment to what is actually being sold on dealership floors, with few parts of the production machines making their way onto the WSBK race bikes, and the top factory bikes costing near MotoGP prices, in the million euro range.
The addition of a 250cc production class makes additional sense, especially as OEMs like Honda and Kawasaki have developed quarter-liter sport bikes for the world market. With Yamaha and a bevy of other OEMs looking to produce similar machines, the class would have direct relevancy for the OEMs to support and help populate, not to mention the World Superbike Championship could benefit from a proper development class for young and rising stars in the sport.
The three race format is also said to be a package better suited for television, and with clearer distinctions between the classes, the championship would be more approachable for new and casual racing enthusiasts.