Bridgepoint brings together MotoGP and World Superbikes
Bridgepoint has announced that Dorna Sports and Infront Sports & Media have reached agreement to bring both their motorcycle racing interests under a single umbrella organisation.
Dorna is the organiser of the MotoGP World Championship and Infront the World Superbike Championship. Private equity group Bridgepoint, majority shareholder of Dorna since 2006, acquired Infront Sports & Media last September.
The new changes - which could have far reaching implications on the future of both series - mean that both MotoGP and WSBK will be integrated within the Dorna Sports group, but managed as separate events.
Both championships now feature 1000cc motorcycles. MotoGP, which began in 1949, is for grand prix prototypes and WSBK, founded in 1988, for production-based bikes - although in terms of track performance there is only a few seconds between them.
The objective of the move 'is to allow both series to develop and enhance their championship personalities, retaining their leadership positions in the arena of world motorcycle road racing - WorldSBK, with its focus on production-based racing, and MotoGP with its focus on prototype racing. At the same time, both championships will benefit from joint marketing and commercial strategies'.
As such, alongside the re-organisation, Infront has been appointed as marketing partner and global advisor to both championships.
Philippe Blatter, the president of Infront Sports, described the decision as 'win-win'.
"Under the new structure, the two leading motorcycle road racing events are now set for sustainable further growth and development. A true win-win situation has been created," he said.
"Both Dorna and Infront can now further strengthen and focus on their core competencies and, in addition, achieve leading positions in their specific area of expertise."
Carmelo Ezpeleta, CEO of Dorna Sports, added: "We're very excited to have the two top motorcycle road racing series under one roof.
"We fully expect to develop and strengthen the distinct nature of both MotoGP and WorldSBK as separate properties and remain committed to working with teams and manufacturers, circuit owners, sponsors and broadcasters to give fans the best experience yet."
With both championships run by the same organisation, greater changes to the technical rules can be expected in order to carve a clearer distinction between them.
It should also help Dorna push ahead with some of its more radical cost-cutting plans for MotoGP, without fearing that WSBK could take advantage.
For example, if MotoGP clamps down on electronics, it is logical to believe that WSBK will now do likewise - and to an even greater level, thus allowing MotoGP to retain the technological high ground.
Attempts might also be made to tidy up some of the CRT 'issues', whereby superbike-powered prototypes can race as a privateer MotoGP entry. At present the CRT engine performance is lower than in WSBK, due to MotoGP's limit on engine-changes.