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"Fast Bikes", May 1, 2013

Pit Shadow

You’ll be glad to know my blood is boiling over again this month and, yes, all because of Dorna. The rulers of MotoGP and now WSB do many things right, yet they also do a great deal wrong. I literally couldn’t believe it when I received distraught calls from one or two WSB team PR folk, exclaiming they could no longer film in the paddock. As in, at all!

A few minutes later, a video blog landed in my inbox from GoldBet BMW. It was about Chaz Davies, speaking about where he came from, his history and so on, for BMW’s fans. However, it was filmed outside Phillip Island’s main gate, which I think (and hope) may have been done on purpose to make a point. Now no team is allowed to film even in its own pits, in fact it seems that the filming ban includes everyone, with few exceptions. How media outlets are now supposed to show, in our digital world, how much fun and how cool it is to go watch WSB, has suddenly become a problem. Do Dorna really expect the press (and I don’t mean the full-time journos who travel with WSB or MotoGP to make a living), to pay them, to promote Dorna’s own brand? It’s sheer lunacy in this day and age, and near suicidal in terms of keeping healthy relationships with fans, the media and teams. I’m not the only one to jump up and down on this, most of the motorcycling media world is railing against it. I really hope they take note and quit this idiotic, short-sighted and cretinous ban before everybody completely loses all interest.

However, that isn’t the only issue I have with Dorna right now. While I’m hugely pleased that the superbike class should survive relatively unmolested, other classes won’t be as lucky. Word is they will bin off the Junior superstock 600, and superstock 1,000 class as of 2014. This is actually a very, very sneaky move on their part. Losing those classes means that young spunkers will only have one direct route to the top, which is by racing in one of Dorna’s national championships, which leads straight to MotoGP’s feeder classes. So, all roads lead to Rome, so to speak. Replacing the stock classes in WSB will be things like the CBR500R Cup, making its debut this season, and after that we’re not sure. What they need to do is redeem themselves by making sure what comes next is interesting to us, the fans and everyone else. I’m thinking some kind of open-class, where the only stipulation is that bikes must be based on current naked machines. Now, that could be a class worth watching! Imagine the variety we could see bashing the crap out of each other, it could be visual gold. However, I’d rather they save superbikes first before anything else, and remember that we now live in a global digital world in 2013, not Dorna’s own...

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