The status of the Spanish championship has received yet another boost. After the Moto3 championship was run under the auspices of the FIM in 2014, from 2015, the category is to be renamed the "FIM CEV Repsol Moto3 Junior World Championship." The CEV Moto3 championship will be runover eight rounds, six of which will take place in Spain, with the championship kicking off in Portugal at Portimao, and the CEV Moto3 class appearing as a support class at the French MotoGP round at Le Mans.
The two classes comprising the Spanish championship, Superbike and Moto2, will also get a status upgrade. For 2015, the CEV Superbike and CEV Moto2 championships will also be part of the European Championship. Superbike and Moto2 will have only seven events, however, the two classes not travelling to France to join the CEV Moto3 class.
The stated intention of the changed status is to help prepare young riders of all nationalities to make their mark and enter Grand Prix racing. That has increasingly been the role of the CEV Moto3 championship, with the champions in the Spanish series moving up into the Moto3 World Championship paddock. The CEV has also become less of a Spanish series over the years, with top young riders from all over the world competing in Moto3. Of the top 10 finishers in Moto3 last year, only half were Spanish, the other five hailing from France, Japan, Italy and Australia. Indeed, of the champions in all three Spanish CEV championships, none were Spanish: Fabio Quartararo (Moto3) is French, Jesko Raffin (Moto2) is Swiss, and Superbike champ Kenny Noyes - son of legendary journalist Dennis - is American, though he has spent a large part of his life in Spain.
The intention is to create a training ground for young talent to move up to the World Championship level, and given the strength and international breadth of competition, that seems like a viable objective. However, doing so creates problems for the series as well. For a start, it leaves Spain without a purely national championship, though given the large number of very strong regional championships, that may not be as much of an issue as it seems. More significantly, it devalues other national championships: the Italian CIV championship has lost some status, with several leading Italian riders and teams switching to the CEV as a place to develop talent.
The CEV is also largely a place for Moto3 talent to develop. The Superbike championship does not have the depth of talent which appears in CEV Moto3, and the average of the CEV Superbike class is much older. The best path into World Superbikes appears to be BSB, which is currently the strongest national Superbike championship by far. However, nobody has been foolish enough to suggest the idea of rebranding the BSB championship as the "Junior World Superbike Championship".
Last but not least, the championship is a little too regionally isolated to be regarded as a "Junior World Championship", the series being confined to the Iberian peninsula, and a single excursion to France. Racing at a wider range of circuits in more countries would make the series' new title less inflated, though it would also raise costs well beyond the current level of the series. Whether it is possible to expand to other countries remains to be seen, it is unknown just how much fan support there would be at rounds outside of Spain.
The elevation of the CEV series to FIM status is in part down to the decline of the European Championships. Some twenty years ago, there was a highly active and competitive European championship for both the 125cc and 250cc classes, which helped to produce riders like Valentino Rossi, Marco Simoncelli and Andrea Dovizioso. The killing off of the two-stroke classes, and the ensuing cost explosion caused by trying to race four strokes, put an end to the European championships. Perhaps, once sufficient Moto3 and Moto2 bikes have trickled down from the Grand Prix paddock down to national level, the European Championship will see a revival. Or perhaps by then the CEV Junior World Championship will have expanded to take the place of the former European Championship.
The press release from the FIM and the 2015 CEV schedule appears below:
FIM CEV Repsol Moto3™ Junior World Championship
2015 Calendar & New Classes, 2 December
The three classes of the current FIM CEV Repsol International Championship will have new titles starting next season, taking the Championship another step forward in its international progression.
The FIM, during its General Assembly held on 22 November, decided that as from 2015 the Moto3™ category would become the FIM CEV Repsol Moto3™ Junior World Championship. Also, by agreement with FIM Europe, the Moto2™ and Superbike categories will be part of the European Championship from the same date.
With this new arrangement, the FIM CEV Repsol will help to break down national barriers even further and constitute a quantum leap in the search for young riders of any nationality who are ready to make their mark in road racing at international level.
|26 April||Autódromo Internacional do Algarve - Portimão||Portugal|
|17 May||Le Mans (Moto3™ only)||France|
|21 June||Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya||Spain|
|5 July||MotorLand Aragón||Spain|
|6 September||Circuito de Albacete||Spain|
|4 October||Circuito de Navarra||Spain|
|1 November||Circuito de Jerez||Spain|
|15 November||Comunitat Valenciana - Ricardo Tormo||Spain|