Record World Superbike grid in 2014 as nine marques join the world’s leading production bike championship

Anticipation is huge heading into the 2014 Superbike World Championship and the opening QBE round at Australia’s Phillip Island from February 21-23 – and with good reason. Firstly, the expanded grid will host a record nine marques – a new world superbike benchmark — with Italian icon brands MV Agusta and Bimota*** and America’s Erik Buell Racing joining the world’s leading production bike championship for 2014.

Further, fans will be treated to a batch of top-shelf riders from domestic and MotoGP ranks, as well as the introduction of the new EVO class.

The 27-bike grid in 2014 is a mix of seasoned campaigners — with 67 WSBK race wins between them — and exciting new blood.

Kawasaki charges forward with 2013 world champion, Briton Tom Sykes, who stormed the field last year to take the green ninja’s first championship in 20 years with nine race wins, 18 podiums and eight Superpole successes.

Tom Sykes ready to defend his title

Tom Sykes ready to defend his title

Also continuing with Kawasaki for another year is Spain’s Loris Baz on the ZX-10R, while the squad has added a third rider in the form of David Salom on the new EVO bike – a nod to 2015 when EVO rules will become standard across the board.

Honda continues with Jonathan Rea and Leon Haslam aboard the CBR1000RR, while Aprilia has added ex-BMW rider, Italian Marco Melandri, to its line-up creating a formidable Italian/French alliance with Sylvain Guintoli on the RSV4 1000.

Marco Melandri is with Aprilia this season

Marco Melandri is with Aprilia this season

Newcomers include 2013 British superbike champion Alex Lowes — the twin brother of reigning world supersport champion Sam Lowes. After winning what is undoubtedly the toughest domestic superbike series in the world, Alex now joins the international scene alongside Eugene Laverty to form a powerful two-pronged British attack at Voltcom Crescent Suzuki.

Laverty’s switch to Suzuki from Aprilia came as a surprise to many after he scored an impressive second in the championship in 2013 and a win at the Phillip Island opener. Melandri took Laverty’s Aprilia seat, forced to find a new team when former employer BMW Motorrad disbanded its factory team for 2014 after five years in the championship.

Spaniard Toni Elias, the 2010 Moto2 world champion, can also still be considered a WSBK newcomer, after he only competed in the final four rounds of 2013. He returns on a full-spec Aprilia in 2014.

Meanwhile, iconic Italian brand MV Agusta – the one which helped guide Giacomo Agostini to motorcycle racing stardom – will be on the 2014 WSBK grid, with 2013 Moto GP rider Claudio Corti the team’s sole rider on the F4 1000 RR. The team will be run by the Russian Yakhnich Motorsport, the astute outfit which guided Sam Lowes to the 2013 world supersport title. Corti has some cunning as well: he was a Moto2 podium finisher in 2012 before stepping up to MotoGP in 2013 on an uncompetitive CRT bike.

MV Agusta back in WSBK

MV Agusta back in WSBK

Erik Buell Racing becomes the first American manufacturer to compete in the WSBK title since its inception in 1988, and the two home-grown riders will be 30-year-old Aaron Yates and 33-year-old Geoff May. Yates hardly requires any finishing touches, having been a four-time American road racing champion in the supersport and superstock ranks, as well a perennial contender in superbike, where his best result was second overall in 2003. Yates and May will race the 1190RX in full world superbike-trim.

EVO is new for 2014 and will be a sub-class of WSBK and compete in the same races — much like CRT bikes have done in MotoGP. The category, with its superbike-spec chassis and superstock-spec engine regulations, is designed to bring down costs and attract more competitors to the championship. Expenditure-cutting measures include a cap on the number of engines, restrictions on gearbox rules, and limits on electronics.

Twelve of the bikes on the entry list are EVO-spec, and riders include Italian hard-charger Michel Fabrizio as well as former world supersport fast men Fabien Foret, Sheridan Morais, Salom and Luca Scassa – all aboard Kawasaki’s ZX-10R. Talented Italian Niccolo Canepa will also be showing his hand on a Ducati, while Frenchman Sylvain Barrier, the 2013 FIM Superstock 1000 champion, will also be EVO-mounted on a BMW, and he could be the pacesetter from the get-go.

Briton Christian Iddon was originally going to be an EVO rider with Kawasaki, but he has now signed with Bimota’s factory EVO team instead, where he will partner Italian Ayrton Badovini under the Bimota Alstare Racing banner. The pair will race the all-new BMW-powered BB3 machine, but are awaiting homologation approval to kick off their 2014 campaigns.

Bimota was a founding marque in WSBK way back in 1988 with Davide Tardozzi and Stephane Mertens, and after drifting from the scene a few years later made a brief, but hapless comeback with Australia’s Anthony Gobert in 2000 – the only bright spot a race win in patchy conditions at Phillip Island.

Meanwhile, the factory team that’s enjoyed the biggest shake-up over the off-season is Ducati – and that was on the cards after a disastrous 2013 for the once all-conquering outfit. Chaz Davies and Davide Guigliano are the new riders on the Panigale 1199R, replacing the retired Carlos Checa and Badovini. Davies was Melandri’s erstwhile teammate at BMW, while Guigliano enjoyed a breakout year on a privateer Aprilia.
Ducati won its last WSBK title in 2011 with Checa, and has 14 championships overall, ahead of Honda (six), Kawasaki (two), Aprilia (two) and Suzuki (one).

The 2014 world supersport grid has also taken shape, with 23 riders set to compete on a full-time basis, including defending world champion Kenan Sofuoglu on his Indian-backed Kawasaki, Frenchman Jules Cluzel (MV Agusta) returning after one year in WSBK, and Honda fast men Lorenzo Zanetti and Michael van den Mark.

Australians Billy McConnell (Triumph) and Ryan Taylor (Yamaha) will also compete as wildcards at Phillip Island, with McConnell already a top 10 world supersport finisher at Donington in 2012.

World superbike is on track from Friday with four practice sessions scheduled prior to two 15 minute qualifying sessions Saturday afternoon to determine grid positions for Sunday’s two 22 lap races (scheduled for Noon and 2.40pm).

Tickets for the 2014 eni FIM Superbike World Championship, QBE Round, Phillip Island, 21 – 23 February are on sale now.  Bar SBK tickets with prime viewing facilities on Gardner Straight, at Lukey Heights and Siberia are $250****, enabling you to move between viewing locations at any time and park your bike near Bar SBK facilities.

Advance ticket buyers can take advantage of a super deal – $99* for a three day general admission pass, which is a massive $51 cheaper than the gate price of $150. For further info go to www.worldsbk.com.au or call the hotline on 1 300 728 007.

Bring the family as children 15 and under, accompanied by a full paying adult, are FREE. The KIDS FREE deal** also goes for Phillip Island trackside camping. As long as your midgets are 15 and under and accompanied by a full paying adult, campsite entry is free for kids. Cost for an adult is $80* per person(booked in advance) or $110 at gate, giving you four nights under the stars (Thursday to Sunday). Camping must be booked in advance on www.worldsbk.com.au or by calling the circuit on 1 300 728 007.

World superbikes is for bike lovers. Bring your bike and ride to anywhere in the circuit. Having your own wheels makes it easy for you to move from one location to another, and experience every one of the 12 thrilling corners, straights and hairpins of the Phillip Island Grand Prix circuit – the world’s motorcycling mecca.

*plus processing fee – offer valid till Wednesday February 19 at 2pm AEST. At gate – a three day general admission is $150. Buy early and save $51.
**Children are classified as 15 and under, and must be accompanied by a full paying adult
***subject to FIM homologation
****Bar SBK tickets can only be purchased in advance on www.worldsbk.com.au or 1 300 728 007

IM Superbike & Supersport World Championships 2014 Entry List

Rider Nat. Motorcycle Class Team Name
33 Marco Melandri ITA Aprilia RSV4 1000 Factory SBK Aprilia Racing Team
50 Sylvain Guintoli FRA Aprilia RSV4 1000 Factory SBK Aprilia Racing Team
52 Sylvain Barrier FRA BMW S1000 RR SBK EVO BMW Motorrad Italia Superbike Team
1 Tom Sykes GBR Kawasaki ZX-10R SBK Kawasaki Racing Team
44 David Salom ESP Kawasaki ZX-10R SBK EVO Kawasaki Racing Team
76 Loris Baz FRA Kawasaki ZX-10R SBK Kawasaki Racing Team
22 Alexander Thomas Lowes GBR Suzuki GSX-R1000 SBK Voltcom Crescent Suzuki
58 Eugene Laverty IRL Suzuki GSX-R1000 SBK Voltcom Crescent Suzuki
65 Jonathan Rea GBR Honda CBR1000RR SBK PATA Honda World Superbike Team
91 Leon Haslam GBR Honda CBR1000RR SBK PATA Honda World Superbike Team
2 Christian Iddon GBR Bimota BB3 * SBK EVO Team ALSTARE
86 Ayrton Badovini ITA Bimota BB3 * SBK EVO Team ALSTARE
24 Toni Elias ESP Aprilia RSV4 1000 Factory SBK Red Devils Roma
59 Niccolò Canepa ITA Ducati Panigale 1199 R SBK EVO Althea Racing
21 Alessandro Andreozzi ITA Kawasaki ZX-10R SBK EVO Team Pedercini
23 Luca Scassa ITA Kawasaki ZX-10R SBK EVO Team Pedercini
32 Sheridan Morais RSA Kawasaki ZX-10R SBK EVO IRON BRAIN Kawasaki SBK Team
84 Michel Fabrizio ITA Kawasaki ZX-10R SBK EVO IRON BRAIN Kawasaki SBK Team
10 Imre Toth HUN BMW S1000 RR SBK BMW Team Toth
56 Peter Sebestyen HUN BMW S1000 RR SBK EVO BMW Team Toth
7 Chaz Davies GBR Ducati Panigale 1199R SBK Ducati Superbike Team
34 Davide Giugliano ITA Ducati Panigale 1199R SBK Ducati Superbike Team
9 Fabien Foret FRA Kawasaki ZX-10R SBK EVO MAHI Racing Team India
11 Jeremy Guarnoni FRA Kawasaki ZX-10R SBK EVO MRS Kawasaki
71 Claudio Corti ITA MV Agusta F4 RR SBK MV Agusta RC-Yakhnich Motorsport
20 Aaron Yates USA EBR 1190 RX SBK Team Hero EBR
99 Geoff May USA EBR 1190 RX SBK Team Hero EBR

 

FIM Supersport World Championship

Rider Nat. Motorcycle Team Name
54 Kenan Sofuoglu TUR Kawasaki ZX-6R MAHI Racing Team India
16 Jules Cluzel FRA MV Agusta F3 675 MV Agusta RC-Yakhnich Motorsport
65 Vladimir Leonov RUS MV Agusta F3 675 MV Agusta RC-Yakhnich Motorsport
26 Lorenzo Zanetti ITA Honda CBR600RR PATA Honda World Supersport Team
60 Michael van der Mark NED Honda CBR600RR PATA Honda World Supersport Team
21 Florian Marino FRA Kawasaki ZX-6R Kawasaki Intermoto Ponyexpres
99 Patrick Jacobsen USA Kawasaki ZX-6R Kawasaki Intermoto Ponyexpres
88 Kev Coghlan GBR Yamaha YZF R6 DMC Panavto-Yamaha
161 Alexey Ivanov RUS Yamaha YZF R6 DMC Panavto-Yamaha
11 Christian Gamarino ITA Kawasaki ZX-6R Team GO Eleven
44 Roberto Rolfo ITA Kawasaki ZX-6R Team GO Eleven
24 Marco Bussolotti ITA Honda CBR600RR Team Lorini
84 Riccardo Russo ITA Honda CBR600RR Team Lorini
4 Jack Kennedy IRL Honda CBR600RR CIA Insurance Honda
7 Nacho Calero ESP Honda CBR600RR CIA Insurance Honda
5 Roberto Tamburini ITA Kawasaki ZX-6R San Carlo Puccetti Racing
61 Fabio Menghi * tbc ITA Yamaha YZF R6 VFT Racing
14 Ratthapark Wilairot THA Honda CBR600RR Core PTR Honda
TBA ** Honda CBR600RR Core PTR Honda
89 Fraser Rogers GBR Honda CBR600RR Com Plus South Tyneside College SMS
9 Tony Coveña NED Kawasaki ZX-6R Kawasaki Ponyexpres Intermoto
TBA ** Honda CBR600RR Lorini Racing Team
19 Kevin Wahr GER Yamaha YZF R6 Team Wahr by Kraus Racing

*tbc: To be confirmed

**TBA: To be announced

EVENT SCHEDULE WSBK Phillip Island, Australia 21 – 23 February 2014

Thursday February 20th

11.00 / TRACK SAFETY INSPECTION

12.00 – 13.00 / RIDERS TRACK FAMILIARISATION

13.30 – 14.00 / AUSTRALIAN HISTORIC FREE PRACTICE 1

14.05 – 14.35 / AUSTRALIAN SUPERSPORT FREE PRACTICE 1

14.40 – 15.10 / AUSTRALIAN SUPERBIKE/PROSTOCK FREE PRACTICE 1

15.15 – 15.45 / AUSTRALIAN JUNIORS FREE PRACTICE 1

15.30 / WSS RIDERS BRIEFING

15.50 – 16.20 / AUSTRALIAN HISTORIC FREE PRACTICE 2

17.15 / WSBK RIDERS BRIEFING

17.30 – 19.00 / WSS TECHNICAL/SPORTING CHECKS

Friday February 21st

08.00 – 08.10 / RACING TRACK SYSTEM TEST

08.20 – 08.40 / AUSTRALIAN HISTORIC QUALIFYING 1

08.45 – 10.15 / WSBK TECHNICAL/SPORTING CHECKS

08.45 – 09.00 / AUSTRALIAN SUPERSPORT FREE PRACTICE 2

09.05 – 09.20 / AUSTRALIAN SUPERBIKE/PROSTOCK FREE PRACTICE 2

09.30 FIM TRACK INSPECTION

10.00 – 10.45 / WSS FREE PRACTICE 1

10.55 – 11.10 / AUSTRALIAN SUPERSPORT QUALIFYING 1

11.15 – 11.30 / AUSTRALIAN SUPERBIKE/PROSTOCK QUALIFYING 1

11.45 – 12.30 / WSBK FREE PRACTICE 1 (TIMED FOR QUALIFYING)

12.40 – 13.10 / AUSTRALIAN SUPERSPORT QUALIFYING 2

13.45 – 14.30 / WSS FREE PRACTICE 2

14.40 – 15.00 / AUSTRALIAN JUNIORS FREE PRACTICE 2

15.30 – 16.15 / WSBK FREE PRACTICE 2  (TIMED FOR QUALIFYING)

16.20 – 16.50 / PIT WALK

16.25 – 16.45 / AUSTRALIAN HISTORIC RACE 1 (5 LAPS)

16.55 – 17.25 / AUSTRALIAN SUPERBIKE/PROSTOCK QUALIFYING 2

17.30 – 17.50 / AUSTRALIAN JUNIORS QUALIFYING 1

Saturday February 22nd

08.00 – 08.10 / RACING TRACK SYSTEM TEST

08.25 – 08.30 / AUSTRALIAN SUPERSPORT WARM-UP

08.35 – 08.40 / AUSTRALIAN SUPERBIKE/PROSTOCK WARM-UP

08.50 – 09.15 / AUSTRALIAN HISTORIC RACE 2 (6 LAPS)

09.25 / FIM TRACK INSPECTION

09.45 – 10.30 / WSBK FREE PRACTICE 3 (TIMED FOR QUALIFYING)

10.45 – 11.30 / WSS FREE PRACTICE 3

11.40 – 12.05 / JUNIORS RACE 1 (6 LAPS)

12.30 – 13.00 / WSBK FREE PRACTICE 4 (NOT TIMED FOR QUALIFYING)

13.25 – 13.45 / AUSTRALIAN SUPERSPORT RACE 1 (10 LAPS)

13.55 – 14.15 / AUSTRALIAN SUPERBIKE/PROSTOCK RACE 1 (12 LAPS)

14.15 – 14.45 / PIT WALK

14.15 – 14.40 / STUNT RIDER

15.00 – 15.15 / WSBK SUPERPOLE 1

15.25 – 15.40 / WSBK SUPERPOLE 2

15.55 – 16.40 / WSS QUALIFYING

16.55 – 17.20 / AUSTRALIAN HISTORIC RACE 3 (6 LAPS)

17.35 – 17.55 / AUSTRALIAN JUNIORS RACE 2 (6 LAPS)

Sunday February 23rd

08.00 – 08.10 / RACING TRACK SYSTEM TEST

08.35 – 08.40 / AUSTRALIAN SUPERSPORT WARM-UP

08.45 – 08.50 / AUSTRALIAN SUPERBIKE/PROSTOCK WARM-UP

09.00 / FIM TRACK INSPECTION

09.20 – 09.35 / WSBK WARM-UP

09.45 – 10.00 / WSS WARM-UP

10.10 – 10.35 / AUSTRALIAN SUPERSPORT RACE 2 (10 LAPS)

10.45 – 11.00 / AUSTRALIAN JUNIORS RACE 3 (5 LAPS)

11.05 – 11.20 / 2 SEATER RIDES

11.05 – 11.30 / PIT WALK

11.20 – 11.35 / ALFA ROMEO LAPS EXPERIENCE

12.00 / WSBK RACE 1 (22 LAPS KM 97.790)

13.10 / WSS RACE (18 LAPS KM 80.010)

14.40 / WSBK RACE 2 (22 LAPS KM 97.790)

15.50 / AUSTRALIAN SUPERBIKE/PROSTOCK RACE 2 (12 LAPS)