Paolo Flammini has lauded the confirmation of a 32-strong full-time World Superbike grid in 2009 by labelling it as the 'best ever'.
Although the global economic crisis has taken its toll elsewhere in motorsport, 19 teams, including seven manufacturers, have submitted entries to this year's premier Superbike series. By contrast, the 2008 season started with five manufacturers and 28 riders.
A grid made up of tantalising talent, including existing favourites Noriyuki Haga, Troy Corser and Max Biaggi, as well as MotoGP exile Shinya Nakano and Supersport graduates Jonathan Rea, Tommy Hill and Broc Parkes, several newcomers to the world stage will also make high-profile debuts in 2009.
These include AMA Superbike Champion Ben Spies, three of the top four from the British Superbike Championship – Shane Byrne, Leon Haslam and Tom Sykes -, as well as Italian Superbike winner Luca Scassa and FIM Superstock 1000 winner Brendan Roberts.
Indeed, with nearly every rider on the grid experiencing success at a high level over the past few seasons, Infront Motor Sports chairman Flammini is delighted that current regulations are helping to buck the trend experienced in other series'
"I am delighted with the success of the entry list for the 2009 SBK championship, which is the best ever. It is a true demonstration of the success of a formula that allows teams to compete in a high-level series with relatively low costs, and which also gives the possibility to private teams to go well.
“The validity and the stability of the technical regulations have also helped to bring about the entry of two important new manufacturers, Aprilia and BMW, which takes the number of manufacturers present to an all-time record for Superbike.
“The rider quality will also be very high, with the arrival amongst others of the reigning AMA and BSB champions, as well as a number of talented new riders. In a moment of global economic difficulty Superbike can look to the future with serenity and optimism."