World Superbike 2011 - The new grid is shaping up, with a few surprises
With current WSBK champion Max Biaggi having officially confirmed his return with Aprilia for the next two years, Aprilia is one of the few teams that remain intact for 2011.
Here are the confirmed team for 2011.
2011 World Superbike grid as of October 19, 2010:
Aprilia Alitalia (Unchanged)
Michel Fabrizio (Ex-Ducati factory rider)
Marco Melandri (Ex-MotoGP)
Ten Kate Honda (Unchanged)
Leon Haslam (New rider, from Alstare Suzuki in 2010)
Kawasaki SRT (One rider too many, see Pedercini Kawasaki!)
Althea Ducati (The “official” Ducati team for 2011)
Noriyuki Haga (Ex-Ducati factory rider)
Liberty Ducati (Strong new team)
Pedercini Kawasaki (Looking for sponsor, may go to one rider in 2011)
WSBK finished the 2010 season with 21 bikes on the grid at the Magny-Cours final, down from a peak of 40-odd riders a few years ago. To add to this misery, MotoGP will accept stock-based engines staring in 2012, to build up their grid from 16 riders this year. The senior series will thus rob a few more entries from WSBK, as they did for 2011 with the departure of Ducati, who needed to concentrate their limited resources on MotoGP and… Valentino Rossi – Him again!
So what can WSBK do? They can cut costs further by running bikes that are closer to stock, with common ECUs, suspensions, wheels, a limit on testing and team personnel at the track, etc.
This would mean semi-official teams with limited ways to spend money, just like most Superbike series around the world are doing, are the way to go to keep this great series alive.