MotoGP rider Cal Crutchlow has expressed his disappointment at the dwindling popularity of the World Superbike Championship he formerly competed in, even if he remains optimistic Dorna has the ability to return it to its glory days.

Crutchlow raced in WSBK for the factory Yamaha team in 2010 - having won the World Supersport title the previous year - and, having served his pre-MotoGP apprenticeship on that stage, he admits he is uncertain as to why the series struggling for spectator numbers, particularly in the UK.

Nonetheless, Crutchlow believes WSBK - under the guidance of Dorna - has the ability to return to its heyday when vast crowds visited Donington Park and Brands Hatch to cheer on the likes of Carl Fogarty, James Toseland and Neil Hodgson.

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"It's disappointing to see," the Ducati MotoGP rider told "Dorna have taken the series over and they've done a great job, I believe, with the rules and the new circuits, but you can't make the crowd turn up. I've no idea why people aren't going to watch but I'm sure that it'll turn back around.

"I really believe that someday they'll go back to Brands Hatch and Donington and they'll have the same crowds that they used to have with Foggy, Toseland and Hodgson. I grew up racing Superbikes and it was always great when I was racing there and the crowds were big. Hopefully they can come back to that.

"But it's not MotoGP, everyone loves MotoGP now and the crowd that we get on a Thursday is probably more than they'll get over the full weekend. It's a shame because there's great riders and they can show their talent on TV, which is the main thing."

By contrast, the British Superbike Championship - where Crutchlow competed before moving onto the international stage - continues to grow in popularity and TV exposure. Indeed, with greater fan interaction and spectator incentives, Crutchlow says he is impressed with the way it is run by MSV.

"The one championship that I'm even more impressed with at the moment is BSB because the crowds that they get there and how they run the championship is really good. I know a lot of people think that because it's a domestic series people will say that there isn't the same cost for fans to travel but the crowds that you see in BSB are great and I think that there's more new people coming to BSB, as well as the same people that were there when I raced there, watching the races. They run a good championship."


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There are loads of reasons why WSB has diminished.
Lack of terrestrial TV coverage - a half hour 'highlights' programme in the early hours a week after the event just doesn't cut it.
Quality of riders - there are no real 'stars' like there were in the past.
Cost - £45 plus to see 5 very samey races is not good value.
Differentiation - WSB and Superstock are now so close in specification, the separation is very contrived. So in effect there are 3 1000cc races and 2 600cc races.
Little effort from most manufacturers - only Kawasaki & Aprilia have taken it seriously over the past couple of years. And Supersport is becoming irrelevant ... factories are not producing new 600's so many of the teams are running bikes that are 3 or 4 years old.
A typical BSB raceday has a wide range of classes from 125/250, through one-make races, superstock, supersport & superbikes with minimal gaps between the races.

WSB at Brands again and charging £30 (same price as BSB) to get in will see the crowds return. The other trouble with WSB now is that it is like MotoGP was years ago and full of people who finish 10th every weekend and keep their ride year on year. WSB no longer has the best riders, Shakey & Kiyo would be top 6 at worst week in week out. Whilst I like seeing Brits on the grid, they shouldn't be half the field. I have watched every WSB race since I was at the first one in 88, I have probably watched 3 races this year and find it boring now.
A big round of seat swapping required with the Motogp class as there are a few people in there who would be good for WSB and not going anywhere in Motogp, Bradl for example is stepping down bikes, send him to WSB where he can challenge for the title and then send him back.