Erik Buell Racing have officially confirmed they will be competing in the World Superbike championship in 2014. Today, EBR announced that they will be fielding Geoff May and Aaron Yates in the WSBK class, racing Erik Buell's EBR1190RX, an 1190cc 72° V twin, which has its roots in the Rotax-built machine produced when Buell was still part of Harley Davidson. Both May and Yates are long-term veterans of the AMA Superbike series, May having already raced for EBR in the AMA in 2013.
The EBR team will be backed by Hero, the Indian motorcycle manufacturer which is a minority shareholder in the EBR manufacturer. As a small manufacturer, EBR will need all the help they can get from Hero, as the homologation quantities required to be accepted for World Superbikes are sizable. EBR must have already produced 125 units before offering the EBR1190RX for homologation for the WSBK series. They must have produced a total of 500 bikes by 30th of June 2014, and 1000 in total by the end of 2014. They then have to produce another 1000 by the end of 2015, averaging three bikes a day, a real challenge for a small manufacturer. They also have to sell these units, and though the EBR1190RX has been favorably received by the press so far, there is no official word on sales figures at the moment. For more details on the homologation process and how it affects EBR, see this story on Asphalt & Rubber.
The addition of EBR brings the total number of manufacturers involved in WSBK up to eight. It also adds another country to the manufacturer list, with the USA joining Japan, Italy and Germany. The involvement of Hero is even more important, and a sign of the growing interest and importance of Asian markets for motorcycle racing. With Mahindra in Moto3, and Hero represented in World Superbikes (albeit by proxy via EBR), India is beginning to stretch its racing limbs.
Below is the official press release:
Team Hero EBR to contest the 2014 eni FIM Superbike World Championship
Barcelona (Spain), Thursday 12 December 2013 - Dorna WSBK are pleased to announce that Team Hero EBR will make the switch from the AMA Superbike series to the Superbike World Championship in 2014. This will be a two rider team running the new 2014 EBR 1190RX, represented by riders Geoff May and Aaron Yates.
Both May and Yates make the move to the WSBK series after a number of successful seasons in the AMA Superbike series. May, who is an accomplished AMA rider, has ridden the EBR machine in the states for the past two seasons claiming a podium finish at the Sonoma Raceway circuit in 2012 on his way to 5th position overall in the rider classification. Yates, who has over 20 years racing experience, joined the squad for their 2013 AMA campaign finishing a respectable 8th overall in the final standings, one point ahead of May.
The team will be run by Claudio Quintarelli, Team Owner, and Giulio Bardi, Team Manager, both proud to field the first American motorcycle to contest the World Championship with two American riders.
Team Hero EBR is bringing back Erik Buell’s passion onto the world stage: the founder of the Buell Motorcycle Company is a pioneer of modern race motorcycle technology.
Former racer Buell has himself competed against some of the greats in the past, and is excited and optimistic about this challenge ahead:
“More than three decades of racing, engineering, and manufacturing experience goes into every EBR motorcycle” said Erik Buell, Founder, EBR Motorcycles. The EBR 1190RX has some very unique engineering technology, and how to optimize this for each race series is something that takes time to learn. With the winter testing ban, we will have to wait and see where we are in terms of current pace and performance. Nobody is expecting podiums, but we will be hard at work, learning and improving. We are confident EBR will bring a fun and exciting story to the series, and know the results will come.
Mr. Pawan Munjal, Managing Director & CEO, Hero MotoCorp Ltd: “We are delighted to be partnering with EBR at the Superbike World Championship this year. Hero is the first Indian two-wheeler brand to be associated with this event and this is also the debut year for Team Hero EBR at the series. This is in perfect sync with brand Hero’s fast-paced global expansion into new international markets. I am sure it is going to be a lot of fun and we do look forward to some exciting times at the championships this year.”
Javier Alonso, WSBK Executive Director: "It is a great pleasure for WSBK to welcome an attractive and unique brand like EBR to the series. The American Manufacturer is the eighth different brand to compete in this new and challenging edition of the Championship, and we are equally confident that their involvement will add to the show. Moreover, it is really good to have two American riders on the starting grid again representing a strong nationality in the history of the series.
The Team will launch a new website shortly.
About Hero MotoCorp
Headquartered in New Delhi, India, Hero MotoCorp is the world’s largest manufacturer of two-wheelers in terms of volume units sold in a calendar year by a single company. Even in the midst of a highly-competitive market in India, Hero MotoCorp has retained clear leadership in the domestic motorcycle market with well over 50% share, selling a total of over six million two-wheelers in the financial year 2012-13. On July 1st this year, Hero announced acquiring a 49.2% stake of Erik Buell Racing.