In a blow to the World Superbike Championship, BMW announced that it will terminate factory involvement in the series effective at the conclusion of the 2013 season. Although the manufacturer stated that it will continue to bolster its private team support in place of direct involvement, BMW Motorrad Motorsport (the two-wheel racing branch of the company) will apparently also undergo a restructuring in the near future as part of what the company states is a “strategic realignment of the brand.”
“BMW Motorrad will now focus on the further expansion of the very successful product portfolio over 500cc, the expansion of product segments under 500cc, e-mobility and the development of market potential in emerging economies like Brazil and Asia,” stated Stephan Schaller, General Director BMW Motorrad.
Both current factory BMW Goldbet riders Marco Melandri and Chaz Davies have contracts that expire at the end of the year, but they won’t be the only ones looking for employment when the season ends. The supporting cast of the factory team in both the WSBK and World Superstock categories is basically made up of members of Feel Racing, a long-time Italian racing firm that actually ran Ducati’s factory World Superbike racing activities during its heyday. With Ducati’s factory WSBK team now run by Alstare Racing, it will be interesting to see where Feel Racing’s history of racing success will end up next.
It’s no secret that the financial part of BMW’s effort in the World Superbike Championship was massive, with an army of personnel to handle both the WSBK and World Superstock racing activities every weekend. Promoting the firm’s S 1000 RR sportbike was the primary driving force behind this expenditure, but with sportbike sales in Europe and the U.S. still struggling to climb out of the doldrums, BMW management are now looking at focusing those and other racing resources on mining the growing markets in South America and Southeast Asia.