The BMW World Superbike squad has been in the news a lot recently, as the German team finalized their 2011 rider line-up, including the signing of 2010 WSBK title runner up Leon Haslam. But the German-language publication Speedweek has much less positive news about the BMW WSBK factory team, concerning the other side of their 2011 line-up. For Speedweek is reporting that BMW is having a clear-out of mechanics and management, ridding themselves of the non-German members of the WSBK crew.
Ruben Xaus' 2010 World Superbike campaign got off to a tumultuous start, with four crashes during practice for the first round at Phillip Island. After a final error during the morning warmup, which saw Xaus slam into Noriyuki Haga and end the session badly shaken up, the BMW Motorrad team elected to sit Xaus out for the opening two races, considering it too much of a risk to allow the Spaniard to race.
That decision triggered a wave of speculation about the future of Ruben Xaus at BMW. Rumors seeping out of the World Superbike paddock suggested that BMW were tired of Xaus' continuous crashing, which all too often forced Xaus to either ride injured or miss races while he recovered. It was said that BMW were actively seeking to replace Xaus, even though the season had only just got underway.
At the last round of MotoGP at Valencia this year, Ducati announced a double-whammy of team manager losses: MotoGP team boss and sponsorship generator Livio Suppo announced he would be moving on to Honda for the 2010 season as their Racing Marketing Manager, while at the same time, WSBK boss Davide Tardozzi told the world that he would be leaving the World Superbike squad in search of a new challenge.
Times from the second day of the World Superbike test at Monza:
The brand new Superpole format adopted by World Superbikes for the 2009 season threw up a great many conundrums at Phillip Island on Saturday, as well as a few surprises. But perhaps most of all, it also threw up confirmation of what some had suspected, and many had hoped.
The format is relatively simple, and borrowed from Formula 1:
After MotoGP went four stroke, there was never any doubt about which was the premier class of motorcycle racing. Coinciding with the flight of the Japanese manufacturers from World Superbikes, the combination of Valentino Rossi's charisma and roaring, smoking, sliding 990cc bikes solidified the series' position as the pinnacle of two-wheeled racing which would brook no competition. But as the Japanese manufacturers started to slowly creep back into World Superbikes, and MotoGP switched to an 800cc capacity, the balance of power has started to shift.