After Laguna Seca the future of WorldSBK was once again questioned. Asking the right question may be more important than finding the right answer immediately
“I've said it before and I'll say it again, democracy simply doesn't work,” so said this intrepid reporter when faced with reports that Bart's Comet would bring destruction to Springfield. It was a time of uncertainty and peril for America's greatest city but one from which it recovered by maintaining the status-quo.
While the WorldSBK paddock isn't standing on Mount Springfield singing Que Sera Sera and waiting for the comet to hit, it is facing a moment of truth about where the series is heading. It's always easier to swim with the tide but for WorldSBK patience and thoroughness are more important than being swift and decisive in making the wrong decision.
Since Imola the paddock WorldSBK has been filled with rumor and counter rumor about the direction that the series will take. Will there be a spec ECU? Will there be concessions for different manufacturers? Will there be testing restrictions placed on the successful teams? The list of possibilities has been the talk of the paddock with Dorna's Carmelo Ezpeleta even suggesting making the series into a Stock class, but what is actually best for WorldSBK?
Dominance by Kawasaki and Ducati is clearly an issue. Over the last three years the series has been dominated by both manufacturers, with only Nicky Hayden's victory at Sepang last year blotting their copy book. On track the rivalry between Jonathan Rea and Chaz Davies has been the main tussle, but while theirs is as heated as any it hasn't captured the imagination.
A lot of that has to do with the fact that on a bad day at the office both riders can still realistically expect to finish on the podium. As a result the series has been devoid of drama at times. That is not the fault of either rider or Kawasaki and Ducati. The burden should fall on the rest of the grid to close the gap by raising more money and spending it in WorldSBK.
That Kawasaki does not have a MotoGP team is a convenient stick to beat them with. That they prioritize their budget on WorldSBK and have been able to turn that into a hugely successful run of sustained success is to be lauded.
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