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GP Week : Issue 153
MotoGP and World Superbike technical chiefs met for the first time at the weekend’s World Superbike race at Donington Park, opening dialogue designed to avoid conflict between the two increasingly similar World Championship series. The pioneering meeting was overseen by a representative of private equity company Bridgepoint, already owners of Dorna, which last year added World Superbike to its portfolio when it took control of Infront Sports in September. By then, the respective series had already started to come into conflict, with the proposed production-based CRT bikes for MotoGP considered to be a step too far by Infront CEO Paolo Flammini. Superbikes are based on production bikes and hold all World Championship rights for the class, he argued; while putting a Superbike engine into a racing chassis did not make it a prototype. Dorna’s Carmelo Ezpeleta was obdurate in the opposite view, and declined to respond to Flammini’s threats of a legal challenge. But Aprilia’s ART MotoGP bike, based closely on their Superbike, underlined the overlap between the two machines. In fact, the ART is less powerful than the Superbike, because of the reliability demands of MotoGP’s restricted engine numbers. Bridgepoint took over Dorna from previous owners CVC in 2006, when they were obliged by monopolies authorities to sell after they had also taken financial control of Formula One. But the European Competition Commission raised no objection when Bridgepoint became owners of the rival motorcycle World Championships. Dorna’s technical chief, ex-Ducati engineer Corrado Cecchinelli, represented MotoGP, meeting with Superbike technical chiefs Steve Whitelock and Fabio Fazi. Infront’s Flammini and Ducati’s Paolo Ciabatti were also present, according to a report on Italian web-site GPOne. com; along with Matteo Perale. No conclusion was reached, but matters under discussion would have centred on how to prevent the Superbikes from encroaching on MotoGP lap times when the latter is subject to stricter technical restrictions in 2014 or 2015; perhaps by applying similar dumbing-down rules to the junior series. DONINGTON SUMMIT SEEKS TO SOLVE SERIES’ CONFLICT Bridgepoint takes a hand in MotoGP-Superbike row 10 GPWEEK.com // PARTNERS: MOTOGP >>> NEWS