Dorna has revealed the pricing for its online video pass for the World Superbike championship. The price for a full season of coverage via the WorldSBK.com website is to cost €69.90, or around US $95. Included in the price is live access to all World Superbike races, as well as the ability to play them on demand after the race is over. There will also be access to a highlights package of each race, and rider interviews and exclusive features. There is also an archive of race and season reviews going back to 1993.
The online package is very similar to the one offered by Dorna for the MotoGP.com website, with suitably revised pricing. Since Dorna was handed the running of the World Superbike series by Bridgepoint, it was only a matter of time before WSBK would also be available via some form of online video streaming. Leveraging both the experience which they had gained in TV rights negotiations and in running the MotoGP.com video streaming platform, Dorna could put the World Superbike races online with relatively limited effort.
The new subscription package should be a boon to fans around the world who cannot see the World Superbike series. WSBK has struggled to find TV broadcasters in some large markets, and having an online video package will make fans of the sport less reliant on the packages offered by their cable suppliers. It should also add a useful (if limited) income stream for the struggling series.
Fans are warned that access to the coverage differs by country, as it remains limited by existing contracts with national broadcasters. Fans in some countries (Europe and the US, it would appear) have full access to live races, while fans in Australia appear to have a more limited range of options, though at a much reduced price. Read the fine print when signing up, and please read the comments below for experiences in different countries.Dorna has revealed the pricing for its online video pass for the World Superbike championship. The price for a full season of coverage via the WorldSBK.com website is to cost €69.90, or around US $95. Included in the price is live access to all World Superbike races, as well as the ability to play them on demand after the race is over. There will also be access to a highlights package of each race, and rider interviews and exclusive features. There is also an archive of race and season reviews going back to 1993.The online package is very similar to the one offered by Dorna for the MotoGP.com website, with suitably revised pricing. Since Dorna was handed the running of the World Superbike series by Bridgepoint, it was only a matter of time before WSBK would also be available via some form of online video streaming. Leveraging both the experience which they had gained in TV rights negotiations and in running the MotoGP.com video streaming platform, Dorna could put the World Superbike races online with relatively limited effort.
If you'd like to have desktop-sized versions of the photos on the site, you can become a site supporter and take out a subscription. If you'd like a print of one of the shots you see on the site, then send Scott an email and he'll be happy to help.The fastest bike in the world around Sepang This bike racked up the miles in Sepang, as Ducati test rider Michele Pirro had a lot of work to do Big Data: racing's newest god
If you'd like to have desktop-sized versions of the photos on the site, you can become a site supporter and take out a subscription. If you'd like a print of one of the shots you see on the site, then send Scott an email and he'll be happy to help.Big changes at Ducati. Andrea Dovizioso shows off the new tank cover housing a revised electronics position. Here's another part: the rear seat unit is wider, and features larger air scoops New frame, new tank, new seat, new fairing, new handlebar grip position... the list goes on
MotoGP series organizer Dorna appears to be pursuing a new strategy in its agreements with TV broadcasters. Where previously, Dorna had been fixed on securing deals with free-to-air broadcasters, recent deals have seen them agree terms with pay-per-view channels, in pursuit of higher revenues.
Spain is the latest market to see this development. The existing deal with Telecinco has been blown open, with Spanish telecommunications giant Telefonica taking over some of the broadcasting from Telecinco. Telecinco will show 9 races live, and a further 10 on a delayed schedule. Meanwhile, Telefonica's special digital channel Movistar TV will show all races live, complete with six extra camera angles which users can select, along similar lines to MotoGP.com's online video streaming package.
The new deal has been reached as a result of Telecinco's desire to reduce the amount it was spending on MotoGP, according to Spain's leading daily newspaper El Pais. The joint deal means that the contract sum of just over 20 million euros will be shared between Telecinco and Telefonica in the final year of Telecinco's TV contract. Telefonica is expanding its broadcasting, with a focus on motorsports, having picked up rights to both the Formula One and MotoGP.
It is reminiscent of the deal struck in the UK with BT Sport. Both BT Sport and Movistar TV are broadcasting arms of large telecommunications companies, expanding their traditional services into the area of television. The telecoms giants can afford to pay much larger sums for TV rights for sports, as the sports are used to sell their broadband services and expand their customer base. Though the switch to pay-per-view platforms means losing a wider audience for MotoGP, the increased money on offer means that Dorna can invest more heavily in the championship, paying teams and riders more and improving TV coverage.
With MotoGP now on pay-per-view channels in Spain, Italy, and the UK, three major TV markets, this strategy is likely to be expanded. All forms of sport are increasingly disappearing behind decoders, with broadcasters regarding sport as a premium entertainment product, which audiences are willing to pay for.
Below is the press release from Dorna on the deal:
Mediaset España, Telefonica and Dorna Sports make initial agreement on 2014 MotoGP™ season broadcast
- Telecinco will show every World Championship race this year: 9 live Grands Prix and 10 delayed broadcasts
- Movistar TV will broadcast the entire MotoGP™ World Championship live in an innovative, unique and never-previously-seen format in Spain. Up to six additional camera angles will be available during Grands Prix
- This joint sports broadcast rights agreement combines the strategies of delivering mass interest events to audiences on a free-to-air platform with the broadcast of specific exclusive events on subscription based channels, as is commonplace throughout Europe
Mediaset España, Dorna Sports, the commercial rights holders of the MotoGP™ World Championship and Telefonica, on their subscription based audiovisual platform Movistar TV, have made an initial agreement on shared broadcast rights for MotoGP™ in Spain in 2014.
Both media companies will offer full MotoGP™ Grand Prix coverage: Telecinco will show races live from nine Grands Prix and will show 10 events via delayed broadcast. Meanwhile Movistar TV viewers can view every Grand Prix live, including practice and qualifying sessions, via a new dedicated channel which will bring viewers all the latest on and off track news and action. The new Movistar TV channel will include multiscreen broadcast, historic Grand Prix action, documentaries, films and additional World Championship programming.MotoGP series organizer Dorna appears to be pursuing a new strategy in its agreements with TV broadcasters. Where previously, Dorna had been fixed on securing deals with free-to-air broadcasters, recent deals have seen them agree terms with pay-per-view channels, in pursuit of higher revenues.Spain is the latest market to see this development. The existing deal with Telecinco has been blown open, with Spanish telecommunications giant Telefonica taking over some of the broadcasting from Telecinco. Telecinco will show 9 races live, and a further 10 on a delayed schedule. Meanwhile, Telefonica's special digital channel Movistar TV will show all races live, complete with six extra camera angles which users can select, along similar lines to MotoGP.com's online video streaming package.
The debate on the future of MotoGP continues in full force. On the one side of the argument, those who believe that the factories' freedom to develop electronics should not be constrained, and on the other side, those who say that technology has to be reined in to control costs, and increase the spectacle. On one side of the argument stand the manufacturers, led by Honda; on the other side stand the teams, with Dorna at the helm.
Or at least, that's the way it seems from the outside. The reality behind the politics of MotoGP is far more labyrinthine than it appears. The impending decision of Ducati to switch to being an Open class entry (officially, to be taken only after tests at Sepang, but well-informed sources suggest the decision has been all but taken) has cracked the lid on some of the politics, offering a glimpse of the power structures which underly the rule-making process. With Ducati poised to break ranks with the other manufacturers, the MotoGP series could be set to take an entirely different direction.
Yesterday, leading US magazine Cycle World published one of the best analyses of the situation I have read for years. Veteran technical journalist and eminence grise in the world of motorcycle racing Kevin Cameron lays out with incisive clarity how the current status quo came about, and how Ducati's decision to go Open could upset the delicate balance of power. For anyone interested in why MotoGP is the way it is today, it should be compulsory reading.
The article also links nicely with another piece on the German-language website Speedweek. There, Gunther Wiesinger takes a wider view of the subject, and talks to Tech 3 boss Herve Poncharal about Yamaha's view of the Open class. If Yamaha were also to abandon their opposition to limits on electronics, then that would leave Honda standing alone, with a decision to make on their future participation.
With the first MotoGP test of the year due to start next week at Sepang, the new Open class will be a prime topic of conversation. In the run up to the test, we wil be publishing a number of articles explaining the rule changes, and what impact they will have. I will then be flying to Sepang to cover the test in person.
The addition of the EVO category to the World Superbike class has had the hoped-for effect on the grid. From a modest entry list of 19 riders last year, the grid is up to a healthy 27 entries for 2014. The number of manufacturers has increased as well, up to 9, with MV Agusta, EBR (Erik Buell's latest venture) and Bimota all taking part, racing this year under the EVO banner. Bimota's entry is still provisional, subject to homologation of the BMW-based BB3 being approved.
The gamble of introducing a cheaper, lower-spec form of racing appears to have paid off, with 12 riders entered in the EVO category. Like the CRT class in MotoGP, the EVO category makes competing cheaper, with tuning restrictions closer to Superstock levels on engines, while chassis regulations remain the same as for the full SBK class entries.
The expansion in the World Superbike class has been partially at the expense of World Supersport, with teams such as Team Toth and Yakhnich using the opportunity to move up to WSBK. The World Supersport field is down to 23 entries, after years of fields of 30+ riders. The list of manufacturers in WSS is shorter, with just Honda, Kawasaki, Yamaha and MV Agusta represented. The World Superbike and World Supersport entry lists are shown below.
The 2014 World Superbike rider line up. The latest, updated list can be found here.
|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||Alex 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|
* STH: Subject to homologation
The 2014 World Supersport rider line up. The latest, updated list can be found here.
|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
World Superbikes will be easier to watch for fans around the world this year. The World Superbike series has announced that it is to make an online video pass available to fans this season, making it possible to watch WSBK races live on the WorldSBK.com website, or rewatch them at leisure. The update comes as part of revamping of the series website, bringing it closer inline to the MotoGP.com website, now that the series is firmly in Dorna's hands.
The influence of Dorna is clear in the WorldSBK.com redesign. The layout has been adapted to echo the structure of the MotoGP.com website, and the video player is now identical to the one used on the MotoGP.com website. Using a single player, and Dorna's existing video infrastructue is what has made it possible for the World Superbike series to offer the online video streaming of races and archive of past videos. Though the announcement on the WorldSBK.com website is light on details, it promises live coverage of every weekend, including streaming of races, interviews with riders and 'exclusive video content'. It will likely feature a similar service to that of MotoGP.com video subscribers, which includes an extremely comprehensive archive.
Two questions remain unanswered: what will the video pass cost, and where will it be available? The answer to the first question is completely unknown at the moment, though WorldSBK.com will have to make an announcement fairly shortly. It seems unlikely that it will be set at the same level as the MotoGP.com video pass (€99.95 for the standard pass), given that the level of interest in WSBK is not the same as MotoGP. However, Dorna's past record on streaming video suggests that it will not be cheap.
Availability is also uncertain. The WorldSBK.com website only mentions that the service will not be available in all countries. Previously, World Superbikes representatives have explained that online streaming video was made complicated due to existing contracts with TV broadcasters, many of whom have also secured the rights to stream the video live on their websites. With Dorna's streaming infrastructure in place, streaming video is being handled differently as contracts come up for renewal. Such existing contracts mean that streaming video is unlikely to be available inside Europe, as Eurosport has its own online streaming package showing World Superbikes via the Eurosport Player. However, enquiries by the estimable Asphalt & Rubber website indicate that the pass will be available for fans in the US and Canada. More details will surely be announced soon, via the World Superbikes website.
US World Superbike fans will also be able to watch the series on TV. At least, they will if they have access to the oddly-capitalized beIN SPORTS channel in their cable package. Just as it did last year, the channel will be showing every World Superbike race live, both on TV and via their beIN SPORTS PLAY mobile app. Whether the races will be streamed on the beIN SPORTS website is as yet unclear.
It looks like Movistar is on the verge of a return to MotoGP. Italian site GPOne.com is reporting that the Spanish telecoms giant is close to signing a deal with Yamaha to sponsor the Japanese factory's MotoGP team of Jorge Lorenzo and Valentino Rossi. According to the report, the sponsorship deal is set to be announced at the first Sepang test, at a press conference to be held there.
Just how accurate this report is remains to be seen, but there are many indications that the deal could happen. Movistar was a major supporter of motorcycle racing in the past, having backed teams at many levels of racing. Movistar sponsored the junior cup competition in Spain run by Alberto Puig, which unearthed the talents of Casey Stoner, Chaz Davies, Leon Camier, Joan Lascorz and many more. Through Puig, they also backed Dani Pedrosa through his years in the 125 and 250 classes. Movistar was also active in the MotoGP class, backing the Suzuki team of Kenny Roberts Jr, and the Gresini Honda squad of Sete Gibernau at the start of the century.
Movistar (and Telefonica, the telecoms giant which owns the Movistar brand) eventually pulled out of racing over a disagreement with Honda and Repsol. When Honda signed Dani Pedrosa, Telefonica had wanted to continue their backing of the Spaniard, having funded his way through the junior classes. Petroleum giant Repsol insisted that if Pedrosa was to be in the factory team, he should be racing in Repsol colors, not in Telefonica colors. Seeing their investment in Pedrosa going to waste, Telefonica pulled out of Grand Prix motorcycle racing altogether.
They have been biding their time for a return, however. Rumors emerged two years ago that Telefonica had been in talks with Yamaha, but had decided against backing the factory after market research indicated limited return on investment. With MotoGP going to South America - a key market for the Spanish telecoms giant - the sponsorship equation may now make more financial sense. At the presentation of the MotoGP in Jakarta earlier this month, Yamaha boss Lin Jarvis told Indonesian blog TMCBlog that more sponsors would be announced before the season started. We shall see at Sepang whether Movistar is among them.
Though widely expected, it appears that the Brazil round of MotoGP is on the verge of being canceled. Reports in Italy, on both Motosprint and InfoMotoGP, suggest that the company granted the contract to organize the Brazilian GP has not been able to secure the funding to renovate the Autódromo Internacional Nelson Piquet circuit in Brasilia, the Brazilian capital (not to be confused with the circuit of the same name in Jacarepagua, near Rio de Janeiro).
It was known when the contracts were signed that the circuit in Brasilia would need a lot of work done, both in terms of safety improvements and to bring the facilities up to Grand Prix level. According to the reports from Italy, no work has been done on the circuit, and the company involved is on the verge of bankruptcy. Motosprint reports that there are proposals from Brazil to relocate the race to the Autódromo Internacional Ayrton Senna in Goiania, but those proposals face the same difficulties: not enough money to carry out the necessary updates.
The dropping of the Brazil round of MotoGP would come as no surprise. Speaking off the record, sources confirmed to MotoMatters that none of the teams have yet made any plans to travel to Brazil for the race. If Brazil is dropped, it will cause a minor reshuffle of the calendar. With Misano, Aragon and Brazil currently scheduled to run on consecutive weekends, the Aragon round looks likely to be postponed a week to the 28th September, the date currently penciled in for Brazil. This would also mean that the Aragon MotoGP round would no longer clash with the 24 hours of Le Mans motorcycle race, probably the most important race on the World Endurance Championship calendar.
With the 2014 MotoGP season about to get underway, at least one team is likely to miss the first test of the year at Sepang, from 4-6 February. Speaking to the official MotoGP.com website, new signing Leon Camier said that the plan was to skip the first Sepang test and only attend the second test, taking place at the end of the month.
The reason for the delay is simple. The IODA Racing team is yet to sign a contract with Aprilia to supply them with bikes, despite the season being close to starting. According to the Italian magazine Motosprint, IODA are still haggling over the price with Aprilia, though an agreement is likely to be reached. Both Aprilia and IODA have an interest in reaching an agreement: IODA, as they do not really want to spend another season on the Suter BMW, undeveloped almost since its introduction two years ago; and Aprilia, as the IODA team is the only team willing to take the ART machines, with PBM having only signed up to use Aprilia's engines.
At the EICMA last year, Piaggio boss Roberto Colaninno announced Aprilia will be back in MotoGP as a factory team in 2016, and to achieve that, the Noale factory needs a team to assist with development. The IODA team would appear to be a strong candidate, led as it is by Giampiero Sacchi, the man who ran Aprilia's racing program for many years. IODA's problem is money, and Aprilia will have to finance a good deal of the effort themselves.
The bike which IODA would use would be a 'laboratory bike' being used to develop a machine for Aprilia's factory return. Motosprint reports that a new engine could be ready for use this summer. Though no details have been announced, it is expected that this could include the pneumatic valve cylinder head and seamless gearbox which Aspar had discussed with Aprilia at the end of 2013.