Leading World Supersport Championship contenders PTR are unlikely to pursue an entry in the World Superbike Championship after conceding the outcome of its new regulations don't offer an attractive return for a privateer team.
A multiple race winner at Supersport level, PTR had indicated a desire to progress to Superbike competition in 2015 provided the necessary changes in regulations made it easier for a privateer outfit to make the move and prove competitive.
However, while it was originally planned that 2015 WSBK would adopt the regulations trialled by the new EVO sub-category, a less pared-down version of this has been agreed for next season instead, which PTR team manager Simon Buckmaster says has come about as a result of the factory teams having too much influence.
“Since then the rules for World Superbike are just about finalised and in my opinion whilst catering to the wishes of the factory teams (of which of course there are only three, maybe only two if Aprilia go to Moto GP next year) this rules out the possibility of a team like CIA Insurance Honda making the step up to the main class unless we can find a lot more funding,” he wrote in his latest Simon Says…
“There is a cap on electronic costs but in reality after the companies have clawed back the loss of the sale of the hardware in service charges this will not save as much as it should do and once again will be hard to police.
“Allowing two bikes also puts the cost up in a big way. OK I know you can only have one bike passed at a time, but having two bikes means more spares and more staff.
“With this in mind we may have to drop our ambitions to move up to the Superbike class in the World Championship. Put simply, without a much larger budget we simply could not compete. The gap between the teams could now be even bigger. In a lot of ways I hope I am wrong as this will lead to reduced grids again and a backward step for the Championship.”
As such, PTR is exploring the possibility of retaining a four-strong WSS line-up or switching to the British Superbike Championship, where Buckmaster believes the regulations are effective and that Dorna should consider taking some inspiration from it.
“For British Superbike we would look to run 1 Superbike and 2 Supersport machines in the series. MSV put on a great show and I would not consider it a backward step to be part of this series with good crowds, strong TV coverage and excellent promotion. We are talking with Stuart Higgs now about how we could make this work and indeed who would be the riders for this project should we move in this direction.
“In my opinion the BSB Superbike rules are far better than the new rules proposed for WSB. They allow us to be competitive and the Motec control ECU means teams are on a level as seen by the different machines winning races in recent years.
“This is just my view but Dorna could have done a lot worse than taking this on board and used what is a proven package. I know Gregorio and Daniel at Dorna are doing a good job and have many things to consider, but the factories have had far too much say in the final rules which in turn has just ramped up the costs again.”