The World Superbike series has long watched the Red Bull Rookies Cup in envy, as talent from the series - and its predecessor, the Grand Prix Academy - starts to flow into the 125cc series and up into the higher classes. The Red Bull Rookies Cup has clearly served as a talent pool for Dorna, and encouraged young riders towards Grand Prix machinery, and away from production-based racing.
Now, though, Infront seems set to go on the counter attack. MotoMatters.com has learned that the World Superbike series is planning to start a rival youth series, based around racing 250cc four-stroke street bikes, lightly modified to make them race worthy. The series could be launched as early as 2011, and the idea is to produce a "junior cup" in which to bring talent on ready for entry into Superstock, World Supersport and finally World Superbikes. The series is to be aimed at 14-17 year olds, taking riders from around the world and putting them in a professional racing environment, so they can learn just what it takes to be a professional motorcycle racer.
MotoMatters.com understands that the series will be a one-make class, with all of the riders on identical machinery. No details are available concerning the manufacturer involved, but MotoMatters.com has strong indications that the bikes are to be supplied by a major Japanese manufacturer. Given Kawasaki's current increasing interest in the World Superbike series, and a ready supply of Kawasaki 250R Ninjas, our educated guess is that the new "WSBK Junior" series will be racing on green bikes.