Fox Sports Media Group announced it is relaunching the Speed channel as Fox Sports 1, shifting focus away from motorsports to more mainstream sports. Speed will officially change to Fox Sports 1 on Aug. 17, becoming a 24-hour sports channel competing against the likes of ESPN, the CBS Sports Network and the NBC Sports Network. […]
BMW Streamlines WSBK Program, Hands Reins to BMW Italia
BMW announced it realigning its World Superbike Championship program, with BMW Motorrad Italia taking over as the company’s factory team in 2013.
The German manufacturer is currently represented by two teams in the WSBK championship, the BMW Motorrad with Marco Melandri and Leon Haslam and the BMW Motorrad Italia Goldbet team represented by Michel Fabrizio and Ayrton Badovini (there is also a privateer effort of Mark Aitchison riding a BMW S1000RR for the Grillini Progea team.)
Next year however, BMW’s Milan-based Italian arm will be responsible for the factory team as well as chassis development and testing. BMW Motorrad itself will focus on developing the power train and electronics.
“The new structure with the focus on one racing team is lean and efficient, the concept is targeted and logical,” says Stephan Schaller, head of BMW Motorrad. “We are looking forward to being in a position to develop the existing structures in Munich and Milan.”
The decision to streamline its WSBK racing efforts comes in BMW’s fourth, and so far, most successful season in the series. Melandri won BMW its first three WSBK wins this season and added another three second-place finishes to sit second in the championship standings. His teammate Haslam is still looking for his first win this season but has five podium appearances to his name to sit sixth overall.
Fabrizio and Badovini have been less successful, each retiring from three races over the first three rounds. The BMW Italia team has had better luck as the season progressed with Fabrizio sitting 12th and Badovini 13th overall.
“Success in professional motor sports depends on perfect interplay of all the different factors – from the rider, through the team and technology, to the tires,” says Andrea Buzzoni, director of BMW Motorrad Italia. “Furthermore, a sustainable business case is becoming increasingly important. BMW Motorrad has therefore decided to realign its activities in the World Championship.”
BMW will announce its 2013 team name, rider line-up and staff at a later date. Only Melandri is under contract with BMW for 2013, and he is likely to take one of the rider spots.