Dorna’s latest plan to shake up the World Superbike championship to replace World Supersport with a new class for naked bikes.
Sales of supersport 600s have collapsed in recent years, while nakeds continue to sell in huge numbers. Thus a new category for naked racing, which would hark back to the first superbike racing boom of the early 1980s, makes a lot of sense. During that era racing legends like Freddie Spencer and Eddie Lawson fought each other on highly tuned, high-handlebar road bikes like Honda’s CB900F and Kawasaki’s Z1000.
“I can’t say when, but we will have a class with naked bikes, instead of World Supersport,” said Dorna’s ex-WSB executive director Xavier Alonso, who also worked in MotoGP, the company’s number-one championship. “It could be the future. It will start as a replacement of Supersport and then we’ll see how it goes. The thing is that sales of superbikes are going down and sales of 600s have disappeared.”
Transforming World Supersport into a class for naked bikes like Yamaha’s FZ6 and Honda’s CB650F would also make the racing dramatically different to MotoGP’s Moto2 class, powered by CBR600 engines.
“One thing we say to the manufacturers is, let us know what you want to do because World Superbike can be whatever you want to sell,” added Alonso. “We are here to run racing but we are also here to help the manufacturers sell their products, so if they want to do naked, underbones [Cub-style scooters, which are huge in Asia] or even a big scooter class, we are ready to talk with them and see what we have to do. Anything is possible.”
Dorna has already proved its determination to bring WSB in line with current market trends by introducing a brand-new 300cc supersport class for 2017. The low-cost series will feature bikes like the Honda CBR500R, Kawasaki Ninja 300, Yamaha YZF-R3 and KTM RC390, which sell very well in the booming South East Asian market
Read the full story in the latest MCN Sport magazine, including reactions from top WSB riders Jonathan Rea and Chaz Davies. Buy now online with free P&P at www.greatmagazines.co.uk/motorcycling
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