Our 2014 World SBK preview


With the 2014 World SBK Championship kicking off this weekend, we take a look at the field and what we can expect for the season.



SBK riders

Tom Sykes
Loris Baz

EVO riders

Fabien Foret
Jérémy Guarnoni
Alessandro Andreozzi
Luca Scassa
David Salom
Sheridan Morais
Michel Fabrizio

Tom Sykes:

“I am happy with the results of these two days of testing at Phillip Island. In the last couple of days we have done a lot of laps to confirm the remaining test items, so to be fastest and be one of the most consistent riders as well, I have to be very happy with that.”

“Phillip Island has never been our main event, so to speak, so to be up there for pace already is very good. I know the conditions have caught a lot of people out already but I know we can now go to the race weekend with more of a clear understanding of what to do.

“Now we will turn our focus more on performance, pure performance, over the race weekend. I will go away and have a couple of days winding down and relaxing and come back on Friday morning ready to go again.”

Our View:

Tom Sykes was monstrous last year after just losing out the year before. The team is a world away from where they were several years ago and the restructure done a few years ago has paid off.  Sykes will be fast again and Baz needs to be more consistent.  The plethora of EVO riders is a good sign, though It will be interesting to see if they can overcome the BMW riders for the championship.



SBK riders

Toni Elías
Marco Melandri
Sylvain Guintoli

Toni Elias:

“I haven’t set any goal for 2014. It’s obvious that I would like to step on the podium as I narrowly missed it last year in the final race. I hope to keep improving, but there’s a lot of hard work to do and I need to be realistic at the beginning.”

Our View:

A team that possibly under-performed in 2013 and would not have relished the thought of losing to the Championship to the once minnows of the sport – Kawasaki.  This year they come back with a top line rider lineup with both Marco Melandri and Sylvian Guintoli needing to step up and make their mark.  It is also a crunch year for Elias – once the poster child, now on the fringes to also-ran status.



SBK riders

Imre Toth

EVO Riders

Sylvian Barrier

Peter Sebestyen

BMW Motorrad Italia Director Andrea Buzzoni

“Our new project is based on two pillars: one is the rider, and the other one is the team, which puts together the best expertise BMW Italia was able to bring so far. I’m talking about our Sporting and Technical Director Dino Acocella, who started with us in STK but in the last two years he mostly focused on the SBK side of the garage. He is the perfect guy for this new EVO campaign. Our crew chief will be Rossano Innocenti, who has won six STK1000 titles in seven years, 3 with Ducati and 3 with BMW Italia.

I can say we go back to our BMW Italia roots, even though we will still keep in close contact with BMW Motorrad, as they will use our project to gather information for BMW sporting products. One of Berti Hauser’s – 2014 new Motorsport director ad BMW Motorrad – guys will be with us for the whole season. The goal is to win the EVO title, but we know there’ll be a lot of competition, as half of the grid will be racing on EVO bikes.”

Our View

A rebuilding year for BMW as they prepare for EVO.  Gone is the full factory backed team that scored little success despite the big budget effort.  They should be the favourite for the EVO title but don’t expect much from the SBK effort.



SBK riders

Chaz Davies
Davide Giugliano

EVO riders

Niccolo Canepa

Davide Giugliano:

“I tested the 1199 Panigale for the first time one and a half years ago at Aragon. But the bike I rode at Jerez was a very different one. Ducati has done a great job and the bike is much better now. Now we need to work on trying to match my riding style with the bike’s characteristics, but I already feel quite comfortable on it. I just need to adjust back to a twin-cylinder machine, as I’ve been riding a completely different bike for one full season.”

Ducati is putting a big effort on this project and I’m proud to be part of it. I’m excited for the fact that such a powerful brand has selected me, but I have to say I’ve always had a good relationship with them. I will try to improve myself as a rider in all areas, like I do every time I get on track. I hope to turn that extra I see in me into performance and results.”

Our View

A disastrous year in 2013 due to a recalcitrant bike Ducati have had a shocking time in international racing.  They have taken back control of a large part of their racing program.  A very important year for the team and we should expect great things from Chaz Davies.



SBK riders

Alex Lowes

Eugene Laverty

Alex Lowes:

“It’s an awesome track. It’s a track that I have dreamed of racing on since I was a kid, watching Mick Doohan in the ’90s race around here and obviously Casey Stoner was awesome round here.”

“I was really looking forward to it and it didn’t disappoint. The last corner I love, the third corner, Stoner Corner is probably one of the best corners I’ve ever ridden around — it’s great. It’s quite difficult to learn because of the speed but it’s a fantastic track and a perfect setting.”

Our View:

Fast in testing, these riders will be riding hard hoping for a MotoGP birth.  Both thought they were off to CRT rides in MotoGP this year but that fell through and so, here they are.  Both very capable, the team had a lean year in 2013 and while there will again be flashes of brilliance, it isn’t likely that will change.  They will be aiming for more than the two podiums they scored last year – if that’s an indication of what to expect this year.



SBK riders

Jonny Rea

Leon Haslam

Jonathan Rea:

“It’s clear that we’re starting the season in much better shape than last year but it’s so, SO competitive. It’s actually quite exciting! There are a few guys who’ve got a bit more ultimate pace than me, but Phillip Island is a race where you really have to work for the full 22 laps. Today, we focused more on that and, to be honest, we still have some work to do – quite a lot with the chassis to find a good balance for the circuit which demands a unique style of riding compared to European circuits. I also need to sort the final sector because until that point on the track I’m quite competitive. But with everything so close, I can’t afford to give away three tenths in one sector. We’ll take a good look at that and see what’s what. The weekend should be quite exciting because nobody is head and shoulders above anyone else – it’s very tight at the top!.”

Our View:

The team have been struggling since their SBK glory days of 2007 when they won the Championship with James Toesland.  They scored a win last year with Jonny Rea but he suffered through injury as did Leon Haslam.  While they finished ahead of Ducat in the standings, they need to improve this year.

MV Agusta


SBK riders

Claudio Corti

Claudio Corti:

“Once I got this proposal I had no doubt on what to choose. I am honoured to represent such a powerful brand like MV Agusta, who is officially back to racing to be a protagonist, and at the same time I feel a big responsibility on my shoulders. We have a lot of work to do in our first WSBK but I’m ready to give my best and share my experience with the team, in order to reach together the highest goals.”

Our View:

A building year for the team, reentering the SBK Championship after achieving limited success in WSS.  A great team with Yakhnich behind the effort, they should have a chance of an odd great result.  The bike is sure to be a fan favourite.



SBK riders

Arron Yates

Geoff May

Looking back over the recent history of the brand, as well as at the difficulties that the EBR motorcycle has had on its way showcasing some unique engineering technology. It has been a great achievement for EBR Motorcycles to first enter to race in the AMA Superbike series, followed now by another important step, the challenge for EBR to make the switch to the Superbike World Championship in 2014 under the banner: Team Hero EBR.

Our View:

It is great to see AMA represented and Buell back into the sport.  They were a few seconds off the pace in testing but if they can pick up a rare good result, they should be happy for 2014.



EVO riders

Christian Iddon

Ayrton Bavodini

Ayrton Badovini

“The early part of this year is going to be a bit difficult because of our late start, but having said that, I’ve got such a good team backing me, I know we can do a nice job.

Although the BB3 is a new bike, I know the engine characteristics very well, from my two years with it in 2011 and 2012. It is a nice engine – fast, but very usable at all speeds. I don’t think we’re going to need to do a lot of work on the engine, which leaves us to concentrate of the rest of the package.

For me, this year is a lot about improving the bike and being ready for next year and in this respect I’m sure that we’ll do a good job. I’m really, really happy to be back with Alstare again and feel I am returning to a family I know well. The team is very professional. I learnt a lot from them last year and expect to learn more from them this year.

If things go well, and I see no reason they should not, my target is to develop the bike quickly and win the EVO title this year.”

Our View:

Bimota have a long history in SBK taking the first win, five wins in 1988 and an unexpected win in 2000.  Their last foray into the sport brought down the company. It is great to see them back and hopefully they will be back.  And an unexpected win or two would be fun, if very unlikely.

By Sam Tickell, February 2014

Photos courtesy of Phillip Island, WSBK, Honda, BMW, MV Agusta, Bimota

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