146 13012 +Erik Buell Racing To World Superbike 2014+
In yet another defection from the AMA Pro Superbike series, the Erik Buell Racing team and the Dorna World Superbike series jointly announced the American manufacturer’s intention to compete in the 2014 World Superbike Championship. Retaining its previous AMA rider lineup of Geoff May and Aaron Yates, the EBR squad will be run by a team directed by Claudio Quintarelli (who previously managed the Team Pata Martini effort in World Supersport and the Italian CIV Supersport/Superstock series) and managed by Giulio Bardi (who was the World Superbike Rider’s Representative on the WSBK Safety Commission).
May has been with the EBR team since its inception in 2011. He finished on the podium at Sonoma Raceway that year on his way to a championship ranking of fifth. This past season was a little tougher, with May’s best finish a fifth in race two at Mid-Ohio, on his way to a ninth place finish in the championship standings. Veteran AMA racer Yates saw this past season as a major comeback after a two-year layoff from racing caused by complications resulting from a broken leg suffered during practice at Auto Club Speedway in 2010. Yates’ best finish in 2013 was a fifth at the final Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca round, finishing the AMA Superbike season in eighth spot.
"More than three decades of racing, engineering, and manufacturing experience goes into every EBR motorcycle," said EBR founder Erik Buell. “The EBR 1190RX has some very unique engineering technology, and how to optimize this for each race series is something that takes time to learn. With the winter testing ban, we will have to wait and see where we are in terms of current pace and performance. Nobody is expecting podiums, but we will be hard at work, learning and improving. We are confident EBR will bring a fun and exciting story to the series, and know the results will come.”
Managing Director & CEO of Hero MotoCorp Ltd, Mr. Pawan Munjal, said, "We are delighted to be partnering with EBR at the Superbike World Championship this year. Hero is the first Indian two-wheeler brand to be associated with this event and this is also the debut year for Team Hero EBR at the series. This is in perfect sync with brand Hero's fast-paced global expansion into new international markets. I am sure it is going to be a lot of fun and we do look forward to some exciting times at the championships this year."
Javier Alonso, WSBK Executive Director, was obviously delighted to have an American team and two American riders contesting the WSBK series. "It is a great pleasure for WSBK to welcome an attractive and unique brand like EBR to the series,” said Alonso. “The American Manufacturer is the eighth different brand to compete in this new and challenging edition of the Championship, and we are equally confident that their involvement will add to the show. It is really good to have two American riders on the starting grid again representing a strong nationality in the history of the series.”
Meanwhile, the AMA Pro Superbike series is suffering a definite crisis, with two major teams leaving the paddock (the Jordan Motorsports team announced last month it would not contest the 2014 AMA series, choosing instead to contest either WSBK in 2015 or MotoGP in the future), and a few top riders signing with European teams to contest overseas series. The series only just announced the addition of a Barber Motorsports Park round to the schedule, bringing the number of rounds up to just five so far, with no television package announced yet.