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Superbike, the future is in the hands of the manufacturers

New bikes for a new public? Perhaps, what is certain is that the ship needs steering. And by someone who can hold on tight

Superbike, the future is in the hands of the manufacturers

Four of them race but only two of them generally win: Jonathan Rea and Chaz Davies. This time, at the Lausitzring, it was the ducatista's turn, finishing both races ahead of the Kawasaki man, while their respective team-mates, Marco Melandri and Tom Sykes, settled for one third place each.

But what's wrong with this Superbike that no longer offers excitement, with races taking place in front of almost empty grandstands?

It's easy to say that only Kawasaki and Ducati have an official involvement, which explains, but does not justify the fact that other manufacturers, perhaps with less financial commitment but with the best Yamahas and Aprilias, are seconds behind.

An average of 1" per lap.

We also need to understand how one of the best road-going supersport bikes on the market – the BMW S1000 RR - can finish Race1 31 seconds from the front, in ninth, and Race2 17 seconds from the front, in eighth, in the hands of team Althea's Jordi Torres.

Reflect also on this - no Honda crossed the line in Race 1. Davide Giugliano, riding Nicky Hayden's bike, stopped while Stefan Bradl didn't even start due to a crash the previous day caused by oil on the track. In race 2 the German finished more than 36 seconds back. And this explains why Stefan is desperately trying to return to MotoGP.

The SBK, the glorious Superbike that under the management of Maurizio and Paolo Flammini dreamed of bothering the reigning MotoGP class, is lost. And the funny thing is that the two proposals made up until now are contradictory - one wants strictly production bike, the other more evolved machines to allow manufacturers to experiment with the product.

The fans are left perplexed and angry and no longer comment on the feats of their (former) heroes, not even on Facebook.

What is certain is that without direct, or at least indirect, support from the manufacturers, Superbike is in trouble.

There's no point kidding ourselves - it's true that the public does not look at overall performance, but a championship reserved to privateer riders doesn't interest anyone at all. Not the public, not the sponsors and not the manufacturers.

Interestingly, Eddie Lawson's Kawasaki was not actually a production bike in 1981 in America, and neither were those that raced at Vallelunga in the early 70s. This was also the case for the Triumph Tridents and so on, without citing every manufacturer.

A rapid about-turn is required, there's no doubt about that. New bikes for a new public that has changed. But it is the manufacturers who need to find a solution. And let's not forget that today is much more demanding than the past.






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