After Dorna took over the management of the World Superbike series from Infront Motorsports after a buy out, it has been trying to create a visible difference between World Superbikes and MotoGP, which it also owns. In the years recently passed, World Superbikes which was supposed to be a production motorcycle based series had increasingly started looking like prototype based series. In fact, the chief of the BMW superbike team (till a couple of years ago) Bernhard Gobmeier had emphatically stated that all motorcycles racing in WSBK were actually prototypes. And to make matters worse, it was the other way round in MotoGP which had to take recourse to production based elements to boost grid numbers that were falling rapidly.
For 2014 Dorna has said that WSBK will restrict the number of engines used per year to eight for factory teams and has also capped the price on suspension and brakes. Apart from this it also has created a new EVO class where in chassis and suspension modifications could be made but the engines had to remain superstock spec. Later Dorna has even announced that from 2015 onwards all the competitors in WSBK will have to run to the EVO rules. For 2014 the first team to commit to the EVO rules is Team Grillini Kawasaki which has signed promising Supersport rider Sheridan Morais and is also looking for a second rider. Team Grillini’s choice of the Kawasaki is not at all surprising given the fact that the ZX-10R motor is one of the most powerful on the grid.
More teams have expressed interest in becoming a part of the EVO class since this is the future of WSBK. One of the teams that is likely to enter this class is Mahi Racing which will use its connection with Kawasaki to put Fabien Foret on a Mahi Racing branded Kawasaki Zx-10R for greater visibility. Mahi Racing will continue its involvement in the Supersport category using Turkish rider Kenan Sofuoglu who finished second in this year’s championship. It is well-known that Mahi Racing team has been put together by India’s Cricket team captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni and Southern film Superstar Nagarjuna Akkineni. In the 600cc Supersport category Mahi racing represents Kawasaki’s factory involvement.
On the 14th of this month World Superbikes will kick off a two day test for 2014 and the bench mark will be the Kawasaki ZX-10R that Tom Sykes campaigned for victory as World Champion. All factories including Kawasaki, Honda, Aprilia and Suzuki will be present at the test. Interesting news is that Eugene Laverty who won 9 races for Aprilia this season is moving onto the Fixi Crescent Suzuki team for 2014 with a promise of a factory Suzuki ride in MotoGP for 2015, when the factory will make its return to MotoGP racing.