from Asphalt and Rubber (also reported many other places...)
"Fresh on the team’s 1-2 victory at Moscow Raceway, BMW Motorrad has dropped a bomb on the World Superbike paddock, announcing that it would no long support a factory team in the production-based series — effective at the end of the 2013 season. In other words, Marco Melandri and Chaz Davies will be unemployed in a few months’ time.
Citing a “strategic realignment” of the company’s resources in motorsport, the move by BMW Motorrad is perhaps unsurprising, as zie Germans consolidated their WSBK efforts this year, with the factory supporting BMW Italia’s BMW Motorrad Goldbet SBK team, rather than fielding two efforts in the series.
BMW Motorrad says some of the resources currently in World Superbike will go towards other racing efforts, though didn’t name which series would benefit from the restructuring. BMW Motorrad did say though that the realignment is part of a larger plan within BMW to reposition the company’s brand and activities.
“BMW Motorrad Motorsport will end its involvement in the World Superbike Championship after this season,” said Stephan Schaller, General Director BMW Motorrad. “This is consistent with the strategic realignment of our brand.”
“BMW Motorrad will now focus on the further expansion of the very successful product portfolio over 500 cc, the expansion of product segments under 500 cc, e-mobility and the development of market potential in emerging economies like Brazil and Asia.”
“Only those who act consistently today are well prepared for the challenges of tomorrow. BMW Motorrad will remain involved in motorsport and in doing so we will focus on the international customer sport in all its facets. I want to thank everybody who has supported us on this long and successful journey.”
so, how does "only those who act consistently today" square with diving into WSB in 2009, nearly winning the championship last year, and leaving next? it's doesn't, is the answer. either BMW are badly managed and subject to whims (possible, considering the smallish size of the company and the likelihood that a personal 'agenda' of an important board member could influence corporate direction); or they are cynical as hell, believing that motorsport is merely a 'stage' on which they can 'play' till they've achieved enough 'fame', then move on to another stage (much more likely, considering the number of motorsports 'forays' BMW has made over the past couple decades, only to "strategically realign" out of in a fairly quick time).
personally, I value commitment. I find it hard to square this 'valueless' approach to motorsport with the creation of wonderful motorsport performance machines. it takes more to commit than it does to 'play', and it requires great commitment to build great machines. Ducati has invested more in motorcycle racing over the period BMW 'played' in WSB than the Germans, and out of a very much smaller company. Honda has been racing hard since the early 60s, and not every year has brought success. Ford and Chevy have been 'at it' in Nascar since the early 50s. Ferrari has been racing in Formula 1 since its inception.
I value the 'gumption' it takes to keep at it, thru good years and bad; and I despise short term, short sighted, uncommitted brand managers who have no values other than their perception of what's best for their company at the instant, and damn the consequential fallout on anyone else (teams, riders, series organizers, fans, etc). Bernie Ecclestone was very wise to distrust the manufacturers' involvement in F1 a decade ago, and to build the series instead around the teams (whose livelihoods and futures depends upon the series) rather than the 'big boys' whose fat wallets provide a strong lure, but who always 'walk' when things get tough, or when their 'whims' change.
so, despite my great respect for the machines that BMW builds (and many of them, the S1000RR in particular, are just world-shakingly awesome), fuck 'em, I say. I'll never buy one of their motorcycles!
(there! that'll sure have them quaking in their boots in Munich, eh?
not, you say? oh well, at least I feel better after my rant...)