Earlier this morning Yamaha Motor Europe announced that they would be pulling out of World Superbike after the 2011 season. Ducati pulled it’s factory efffort last year, Kawasaki quit MotoGP back in 2008 and Suzuki has been phoning it in for quite a long time now. It’s sad and I hate to say it, but it looks like motorcycle racing isn’t nearly as popular (and profitable) as it once was.
Citing “severe and rapidly changing Powered Two Wheeler market conditions throughout the region,” they’re basically saying that 1, no one has any money anymore and 2, racing is less profitable because there aren’t enough people who care. Dwindling popularity means road racing no longer makes effective marketing. They’ll continue to offer kit parts to privateer teams and if Carlos Checa and his privateer Ducati are any example, the R1 should remain competitive for those that want to ride it.