Jonathan Rea says rather than tweaking with race formats and rules fresh emphasis must be placed on pushing manufacturers to invest more in the World Superbike championship in order to close the performance deficit.

The two-time World Superbike champion has continued his domination in the series this season having appeared on every podium in 2017 except one, Donington Park race one, when he suffered a rear tyre blowout while leading the closing stages.

With a 70-point lead in the riders’ championship with four rounds remaining, it has been another year controlled by the factory Kawasaki and Ducati teams which has sparked fears for the series leading to rule changes to shake things up.

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Rea feels the reversed grid for race two has failed to deliver to expectations, with the top three from race one frequently returning to the front in the opening laps, and it is up to Ducati’s and Kawasaki’s manufacturer rivals to step up its efforts in the series to close the performance deficit.

“My opinion is instead of changing something every year and make the bike a real stock bike it is better to encourage other manufacturers to spend more money on development for World Superbike,” Rea said at the British MotoGP. “There is no doubt Kawasaki and Ducati are taking the championship seriously and the others are not as much.

“It would be interesting to ask guys who went to Suzuka like Alex Lowes and Michael van der Mark how their Yamaha in Suzuka and Yamaha in World Superbikes compare.”

“Something needs to happen. I’m not the clever guy that decides it. Whether we turn up on a Superbike or a fully-open rule production bike. Whatever happens I will be there racing because make no mistake the guys at the front like Chaz Davies, Marco Melandri and Tom Sykes are going really fast. The only problem I see is the gap to the rest.”

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The problem is Kawasaki and Ducati are probably spending the sort of money that wouldn't look out of place in the Moto GP paddock. Most other teams are simply unable to spend that big with the state of WSB as it is. They need to lower the costs first to get the interest and sponsorships coming back. It's a bit rich for Rea to say other teams are not taking it as serious because they can't spend the vast sums Kawasaki do.

You make it sound like Yamaha and Honda are unable to afford to spend. They could, but I suspect the feel their motogp project give a far greater return.

I reckon there will be a move to make superstock bikes eligible. In road racing the stockers are as fast and often faster than the genuine superbikes.

Would Kawasaki be spending as much on their WSB effort if they had a Moto GP project to pay for as well? Possibly not. Rea is lucky to be with a manufacturer that can devote pretty much all its racing resources and money to WSB.

WSB is not in a great state right now and a lot of teams likely cannot afford to put more money into it. Even the likes of Honda and Yamaha don't have bottomless pits of cash considering how much they probably spend on Moto GP. 

Either way, trying to encourage teams to spend money they don't appear to have isn't going to work. Lowering the overall costs to compete at a decent level is the only real answer. It hasn't done BSB any harm.

Jonathan has hit the nail on the head. The WSB series is more relevant to the bikes we buy so they should support the series appropriately. Moto GP is an extremely expensive way to go racing and the fact Dorna has introduced standard electronics to help reduce costs illustrates the point. Perhaps Dorna could give financial support to WSB like they do to MotoGP. This could help the other teams to have genuine factory support instead of the half hearted support now being given. Having two world class series of motorbike racing can only be a good thing for the greatest sport on the world.

Sport bikes are not the big seller they used to be in the showrooms. It's all streetfighters and crossovers nowadays that make the big dollar. Motogp sells the brand. WSBK used to sell the bikes. It doesn't now. And therein lies the problem.

Well with all due respect to the likes of JR, something has to be done or I fear we will see the total demise of WSBK. Just take a look at the spectator numbers.....we get significantly higher attendances at BSB. I know from the attitude of fellow race enthusiasts that the interest is waning. The current two day format, together with the semi reverse grid is helping kill it too. Why not copy the format of BSB? I guess the organisers won't because they know best!! Best my arse!

fully agree - i cant figure out what the hell is going on with WSBK. the format, yearly changes, performance gap . you cant really get engaged. when NH69 moved to WSBK i thought i'll give it another chance - i really wanted to care. i care, but not that much  :(  i care more for Moto3 rookies than JR and friends ..

 

Sportbikes sales have been in decline for years.The 600s will be extinct in a few years.The public just doesnt seem as interested as they used to be,when theyre all riding cruisers,adventure bikes and Superdukes etc.WSBK will never reach the heights it did,20 years ago,whereas Motogp will always be huge.

its not the bike sizes - its the show.  just not a good show.

they dont sell F1 cars and its still a thing. (maybe F1 not a good example :D )

 

It's the same in most motor sports though isn't it. You have the top couple of teams taking the top spots all the time, with a little bit of a jiggle in position between them! Honda has never really shown much interest in WSB, but it wasn't long since Yamaha was dominating everything so no idea what's happened there! Probably not enough money to go round so manufacturers have to prioritise and focus on whatever series gives them the best results. Jonathan is right in what he says but it probably won't make any difference as nobody with any sense listens!

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