Grand Prix roadracing has been the pinnacle of motorcycle competition for
many years. In our opinion, the World Superbike Championship series will decisively
overshadow GP racing in the year 2000.
Even Kenny Roberts has lamented the decline of fan interest in GP
roadracing. Despite the ascension of Valentino Rossi to the 500 class
next year – where he will do battle with his bitter Italian rival Max Biaggi,
the GP classes just don’t measure up to the excitement and competition in
World Superbike any longer.
Just think about the personalities and fierce competition that will clash
in WSB 2000. Let’s see, we have the ever-determined Carl Fogarty chasing his
fifth World Championship on the Ducati while trying to hold off his young,
Californian teammate Ben Bostrom. Bostrom’s good looks and charm with the
fans are rivaled only by his tremendous riding talent.
Honda arrives with it’s long-awaited Ducati killer, the VTR SP-1 (RC51 in
the US). This is the finest V-Twin racer the vast resources of Honda Motor
Company could produce. Already, Honda’s riders (Colin Edwards and Aaron Slight)
are confident of not only first-year competitiveness for the V-Twin, but victory.
Frankie Chili returns on the ever-more-competitive Suzuki. Chili, always hungry for
victory and reluctant to accept anything less, will be a fierce rival for the V-Twins.
The popular, and quick, Akira Yanagawa returns with the oldest bike in the paddock – Kawasaki’s
ZX-7R. As recently reported by British journalist Alan Cathcart (the only journalist in the world
annualy invited to ride each of the top factory superbikes), however, the lone remaining carburated superbike
has been refined by Kawasaki to the point that its power and handling are more than competitive.
Let’s not forget the erratic, but always interesting, Anthony Gobert. Gobert returns to the WSB
series aboard Bimota’s all-new 1000cc V-Twin, the SB-8R. Never known for his skill as a motorcycle
developement rider, the “Go-Show” will likely ride the wheels off the new machine to keep up.
Noriyuki Haga, a multi-race winner in 1998, returns on a much-improved Yamaha R7 (according
to off-season reports). Expect to see Haga more confident on the R7 – back to his late braking and
sliding – and back at the front of the pack.
Former World Champion Troy Corser brings a new level of talent to Aprilia. Along with the improving
RSV Mille Superbike, Troy Corser’s own determination to prove Ducati wrong for firing him should have the Mille mixing it up
with the leaders.
The GPs just can’t match this mix of personalities and stars. The fact that WSB features motorcycles based
on street-legal machines available for purchase at your local dealership only enhances fan interest and curiosity. In
our opinion, World Superbike has finally and decisively surpassed GPs as the premier championship in motorcycle roadracing. Drop
us a short e-mail with your own thoughts.