BMW have confirmed today that they will terminate their involvement in the World Superbike championship at the end of the 2013 season.
BMW joined WSB with a big budget full factory team with their class leading S1000R in 2009.
Although it took three years before they secured their first WSB win, they are now one of the benchmark teams in the series with Italian Marco Melandri fighting for the title in 2012.
At the end of the 2012 season BMW however withdrew it’s Germany based full factory team, handing the running of the team to GoldBet BMW Motorrad Italia and Feel Racing – the company responsible for Ducati’s WSB domination during the Foggy and Bayliss years.
The project continued to receive full factory support in terms of engine preparation and electronics, but the bikes are now prepared in Italy rather than Germany.
New General Director of BMW Motorrad, Stephan Schaller has cited strategic realignment for the withdrawal and the need to focus on their international customer sports programme which focuses on domestic race series.
He said: “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 500cc, the expansion of product segments under 500cc, 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.”
It remains unclear of the future of Feel Racing and the current Goldbet BMW team. As a proven team with the infrastructure to race they could well continue in WSB, but would need direct manufacturer support in order to maintain their winning performances.
Andrea Buzzoni, General Manager of the GoldBet BMW team said: “The team is a very professional and motivated group of people and I am sure they will continue to do everything to end the season on a high note.
"2013 is a good year, the atmosphere within the team is great and also our riders, Marco Melandri and Chaz Davies, are doing an excellent job. We are satisfied with the current results and, of course, we will keep working hard.
"Therefore I am convinced we can celebrate more successes with Marco and Chaz as the season goes on. I am sorry about the decision, but I understand the strategic decision making of the company. I want to thank all the people who are involved in this project.”
It’s remains a bitter blow for the WSB series, which continue to struggle in terms of getting riders and teams on the grid.
BMW is also the team with arguably the biggest presence in the WSB paddock making it’s withdrawal a big loss to the credibility of the series.