With red-headed lady spies, the Winter Olympics, a Formula1 race in 2014, and the 2018 FIFA World Cup, it is time to trot out some more James Bond references, and turn to thoughts of
Mother Russia. Word is spreading that Infront Motorsports has begun talks to take World Superbike further afield than Western Europe with a future round in Russia. The 2011 WSBK season has only two flyaway races (Miller Motorsports Park in the US, and the season opener at Phillip Island in Australia). Thus, a future round in Russia would help expand both the physical and marketing reaches of the series.
With no track built yet, it is clear that there is still a long way to go before racing could happen. Then there are the always tricky negotiations that could easily scupper plans, no matter how public they might be. Once the F1 track is completed at least one of the obstacles to this dream will be removed, though a F1 circuit built around a Winter Olympics site (yes, that is exactly what is going to happen, complete with February to autumn turnaround) might not be the first choice for two-wheeled racing enthusiasts.
Despite the worldwide economic downturn, many racing series are looking for ways to expand into markets with potential new race fans while their core audience numbers recover. F1 recently arrived in South Korea, will hold a round in India this season, and is planning on a Russian event in a few years. After an unsuccessful attempt to spread into Hungary, MotoGP is rumored to be looking into expansion in India, having turned much of the rest of the globe into Lorenzo Land or a sea of bright yellow.
While even these early discussions are not official yet, there are some very powerful people in Russia heavily invested in motorsports. Over in F1, Russian driver Vitaly Petrov has had his second season drive secured through a deal brokered by President Vladmir Putin. This could be a great move for the series who views MotoGP as its main competitor, despite the latter having already expanded far beyond its home Spanish and Italian base. WSBK could be looking for a little love from Russia, but it’s still too early to know if the world is enough.