MILAN, ITALY, NOV 9 – If you think World Superbike boss Paolo Flammini wants to pick a fight with Dorna CEO Carmelo Ezpeleta about MotoGP’s production engine-based Claiming Rules Team motorcycles, think again. Flammini, who considers Ezpeleta a friend, brushed off the notion during a brief Q&A session at EICMA, the giant motorcycle show on the outskirts of Milan, Italy.Flammini addressed the past and future of World Superbike, and also introduced a new logo for the championship. He thanked 2011 World Champion Carlos Checa, who was seated in the front row next to his team owner, who was also thanked. Flammini made the point that World Superbike was going to be the first motoring world championship to stage a race in Russia when it visits Moscow next year as one of 14 races on the calendar. The race will be preceded by a pre-season test.
On the team side, Flammini welcomed Crescent Suzuki, the British team that was joining the series with Leon Camier. And also the ParkinGO team, which was graduating to the Superbike class after winning the World Supersport title with Chaz Davies, who will move with the team to the premier class.There were a few technical changes-the previously announced one bike for Superbike rule-being the biggest. And for 2013 17=inch aluminum wheels will replace the current magnesium units.
“What is important to come to mind is the evolution of regulations in Superbike and all the supporting classes will always be inline with the philosophy of Superbike itself,” Flammini said. “That means we will allow freedom of tuning and modification, but we will never allow Superbikes, Superstock and Supersport to go closer to production bikes at all.”Which was a natural transition for the MotoGP question. In one print and one radio interview, Ezpeleta has been quoted, whether accurately or not, as saying CRT bikes could fill the grid as early as 2013 and possibly with less sophisticated electronics. He also said the Bridgestone tires may need to change, according to transcripts of his conversations with the newspaper’s website and the audio recording of the radio interview.Further complicating matters is that both MotoGP and World Superbike are now owned by Bridgepoint, a European private equity company. That’s caused speculation that they’d merge the two championships, though there’s no evidence to support that claim. When asked about Ezpeleta’s current position, Flammini gave the politically correct answer.”I think that you’re taking Ezpeleta’s statement in a way that I’d rather not comment on,’ he said. “Why? Because it’s a statement that was reported in a way that I think was a little distorted. Certainly it’s necessary to have a bigger cooperation between the two series than it was to have five or ten years ago. That’s a fact. In this sense, to be able to have, in some way, both of them under the same umbrella, while still maintaining different companies, is the right way.”