Yamaha pulling out of WSBK in 2012

Dailies -



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.


  • Thom

    Gee , could it possibly be because there are too damn many series Worldwide , none of which have the same rules for the same class , all of which are too damn confusing for the average spectator , not to mention high ticket prices , excessive trackside amenities pricing , more BS than reality in the majority of Press Coverage , as well as the extreme bias in both the marketing as well as the events themselves towards the lowest common denominator of human existence , both age maturity and mentality wise ?

    Nahhhh. That couldn’t be the problem . Could it ?

    • aristurtle

      There’s also the fact that people aren’t buying as many 1000cc sportbikes as they used to. If a race series is basically just a really expensive advertisement for a company’s sportbikes, and people aren’t buying them as eagerly, well, what do you expect?

  • Joe

    Wow! Double podium and then quit. I guess they wanted to make the announcement on a high note, eh? I suppose it’s a bit discouraging to get your butt kicked by a privateer team.

    • http://greatjoballweek.blogspot.com/ Case

      Checa gets factory support from Ducati. Supposedly he has the same works front end as in His Majesty’s MotoGP bike. So it’s less about getting beat by a privateer team than it is paying for their race teams that don’t even have an external sponsor.

  • jonoabq

    Ok, now that the racing budget just got neutered, where do you expect those funds will get reallocated?

    • Joe

      Even more commercials on Speed?

    • Kirill

      Shiny new R1 paint jobs aren’t going to just create themselves you know!

      • Myles


    • Sean Smith

      I’d bet that the funds aren’t just getting routed elsewhere. If they had that much money, they’d probably have kept the racing.

      • JonB

        Agreed. A year of racing with no title sponsors means they are probably super lean on $.

  • Roman

    Silver lining: relaxation of homologation requirements, i.e. Buell racing in WSBK?

  • Coreyvwc

    Now they’ll have enough funding to make the 2012 R1′s even wider and more whale like. Move over Shamu, company is coming soon…

  • CG

    If this means no more shots of Melandri’s girlfriend in the pits, I’ll be pissed. Given the “crowd” at Miller’s WSBK race, vs. Silverstone last weekend, watch for a merger of WSBK and BSB.

    • Roman

      Because Miller is a terrible location. AMA got 35,000 at NJMP. They could get 80-90k easy at a proper East Coast location. Miller closest metro to Miller is Salt Lake, not exactly moto enthusiast central or even a population center. Great track, shit location.

      • noone1569

        Should do this in Indy too =(

        • tomwito


  • rndholesqpeg

    Silver lining: relaxation of homologation requirements

    I would think as a cost cutting effort it would go the other way, as an example this years rules not allowing Aprilia to run their fancy gear driven cams.

    • Roman

      Well, Aprilia doesn’t put gear driven cams on their production bike, so that makes sense to me. I meant allowing small-batch manufacturers like Buell or Bimota to race their bikes in WSBK. Not sure what their rules are right now, but if the factory teams are pulling out and spending is down, why not make it easier for smaller brands to get in on the action?

  • rndholesqpeg

    How can anyone care about racing in the States? Speedtv’s coverage is an absolute joke compared to BBC or Eurorport coverage. Heaven forbid they take an extra half hour reviewing and informing the average viewer instead of rushing on and off air so they can fit another rerun of pinks or some other god awful show.

    If FIM had its head screwed on, it might actually allow users to watch some races online (without forking over $150 for motogp or not at all for WSBK) and not have to deal with the crap we see stateside.

    • Jeff

      totally agree. As a fan sometimes I want to hear the after race interviews.

    • http://www.damiengaudet.blogspot.com damien

      Yep, and the video feed looks like shit too. Seriously, a fucking camcorder would give better quality. WTF?!

    • Gene

      Yeah, and how about even when they don’t show a race live, they **STILL** put in a commercial when someone passes for the lead, or something else important happens.

    • tomwito

      If I hear that guy who does the speed re-joins say Lorentho one more time I’m gonna kill him. I don’t care if it is how it’s pronounced. And the Laguna coverage was awful 3 minutes of the camera pointing at Bostrom with no sound while laps are ticking off. Seriously?

    • LawBreaker

      SpeedTV= Nascar…which can both blow donkeys for all I care.

      Eurosport TV is blocked in the U.s and I’m not sure why. Its REALLY unfortunate that U.S moto-roadracing fans have to resort to RacingUnderground and other outlets to view desired races….

      HFL needs a Cable motorsports show …!

  • 85gripen

    The MotoGP race at Laguna Seca had record-breaking attendance. I’m sorry to see WSBK on the downturn b/c it’s technologies developed there that may trickle-down to consumer-level bikes eventually. MotoGP is technology we’re likely never to see.

    • http://hellforleathermagazine.com Grant Ray

      Actually, it’s the GP tech that you’re seeing first which then slowly makes its way to production bikes for WSBK. WSBK teams most definitely did not develop traction control, etc.

      • Sean Smith

        Actually, the Yoshimura Suzuki AMA team did a lot to develop traction control when Matt Mladdin and Ben Spies were dominating on those bikes. Tech comes from all sorts of strange places, but you’re right about GP being the stuff that trickles down.

        WSBK is running production bikes and by the time advancements from that racing would get the chance to make their way to a street bike, the production run is up and the new models are out.

  • rohorn

    It wasn’t that long ago (for adults, anyway) that everyone was wondering if GP was going to go away and that WSB was going to take over the world. Oh yes – that was when GP was supposedly oh so glorious with 2 strokes and no TC – and the only excitement was wondering if Mick Doohan would win again or get hurt again.

    My $.02? Drop WSB and make ALL of the “consumer product” classes go back to national level racing. It would be fun to see GP riders enter select SB events again….

  • Robert

    The Japan Disaster,
    No VIR, now this…..
    Sorry times.