Team Alstare Bimota in World Superbike?
This month, the Italian motorcycle manufacturer Bimota announced its partnership with Team Alstare, the Belgium outfit that is well known across the racing world.
Under the five-year contract, Alstare will create a new Global Racing department for Bimota in its headquarters in Belgium. Alstare reports it will provide technical support to all official Bimota teams worldwide, together with the supply of parts for track use. Further, Alstare will be responsible for Research and Development for Bimota and will work on improving Bimota’s Moto2 bikes as well as the Bimota BB3.
One of the goals of the relationship is entering Bimota into 2014 World Superbike with the BMW-powered BB3, a bike created after the 40-year-old brand was purchased last year by Daniele Longoni and Marco Chiancianesi – native Italians living in Switzerland.
But the BB3 must pass all World SBK homologation rules, which looks impossible ahead of 2014. Under the latest World Superbike homologation rules, a motorcycle manufacturer:
- Must have produced at least a quantity of 125 motorcycles prior to the homologation inspection.
- Must reach the minimum quantity of 500 units by June 30 of the current year.
- Must reach the minimum quantity of 1000 units by December 31 of the current year.
- Must reach the minimum quantity of 2000 units by December 31 of the following year.
But on Friday, Dorna WSBK Organization released the following FIM statement regarding the possible change to the current homologation rules:
“The FIM welcomes new motorcycle manufacturers wishing to participate in one or more FIM World Championships. With reference to the FIM Superbike World Championship, there are rules and requirements which have to be observed and fulfilled. As a result, the required minimum quantity of produced units necessary to obtain homologation are reviewed periodically to run parallel to the motorcycle market.
“As an illustration, the FIM and the Superbike Commission have in the past adjusted the minimum quantities of motorcycles to be produced to participate due to the worldwide economic market situation. Such a change was adopted in 2009. Another change was made due to the market situation in 2012 when the market situation for motorcycles in the sport section was of great concern. We have started discussions within the Superbike Commission to modify these numbers.”
An official announcement is expected by the end of the month, which may give Team Alstare Bimota enough time to enter the first round of 2014 World Superbike at Phillip Island Feb. 23.
If the Bimota BB3 is homologated, there could possible be nine manufacturers in 2014 World SBK. As of now, eight manufacturers are slated to fill the 2014 World SBK grid: the returning MV Agusta, Aprilia, BMW, Ducati, Honda, Kawasaki, Suzuki and Yamaha.