WSBK: 600 Supersport Class To Be Replaced By Naked 600s
Published December 3, 2016
It seems that Dorna Sports are planning to give the World Superbike Championship a serious shake up: they’re going to get rid of the 600cc supersport class and replace it with a new platform for naked bikes. Why are they doing this? Well, like in all businesses, they’ve got to go where the money is. It’s no secret that the 600cc supersport class has suffered from disappointing sales over the last few years, to the point where many manufacturers are threatening to pull the plug on production. Naked bikes, however, have been steadily growing in sales and demand, so it’s only natural that a new class would make an appearance.
The old adage “win on Sunday, sell on Monday” only works if the big championships provide a platform for manufacturers to show off their goods. And the idea of a naked 600 class is perfect. As much as we love watching the MotoGP, even if Marquez wins on his RC213V, or Rossi with his YZR-M1, of even Dovizioso on his the Desmocedici GP16, we’re not going to be able to go out and buy one of those machines…but a 600cc naked? Well, there’s definitely an interested market.
Dorna’s ex-WSB director Xavier Alonso was quoted by MCN saying: “I can’t say when, but we will have a class with naked bikes, instead of World Supersport. It could be the future. It will start as a replacement of Supersport and then we’ll see how it goes. The thing is that sales of superbikes are going down and sales of 600s have disappeared.” So, if you’ve ever been curious as to how well Yamaha’s FZ series perform in a race environment up against Honda’s CB650F (as an example) then this could be a very exciting thing to add to your calendar.
According to Dorna, they want to diversify their product and bring more types of racing into the spotlight. “One thing we say to the manufacturers is, let us know what you want to do because World Superbike can be whatever you want to sell. We are here to run racing but we are also here to help the manufacturers sell their products, so if they want to do naked, underbones [Cub-style scooters, which are huge in Asia] or even a big scooter class, we are ready to talk with them and see what we have to do. Anything is possible.”
Dorna are taking it seriously, as they have also recently introduced a new 300cc supersport category to keep up with customer trends. Since all of the Japanese manufacturers have put a focus on South East Asian sales, with products like the CBR300R, the R3, and the Ninja 300, it makes sense that Dorna would introduce a new racing event to push them into the spotlight.
But how do you feel about this? Is the 600cc era, on the road and on the track, really coming to an end? And what about a naked series? Would you watch it? I would – but then again, I’ll watch anything…