or, how to make the msma really mad in a few press releases (more content at bottom)
by dean adams
Thursday, July 10, 2003
Who really has the supreme power in motorcycle racing? Several persons and or organizations think they do, but it's really hard to argue with an association that writes the checks and controls factory and semi-factory racing teams the world over. That would be the MSMA: Motorcycle Sports Manufacturer Association, members of which include Honda, Aprilia, Yamaha, Suzuki, Kawasaki and Ducati.
Angered by recent events in World Superbike, including the 'from nowhere' new rules package that has yet to be fully structured, the presumed spec-tire rule for next season and the manner in which these rules were decided upon and announced, the MSMA decided today that they've had enough of the perceived buffoonery. The majority of the manufacturers who were mulling over returning to the World Superbike series next year (read that as the Japanese manufacturers) now say they have "decided not to enter World Championship SuperBike at all."
The MSMA release reads as follows:
The MSMA and each of the individual manufacturers who are members of the MSMA would like to thank the media for all the work they put into covering motorcycle racing and for encouraging so many people to take an interest in, and give their backing to, the sport.
On the assumption of implementation with the World Championship SuperBike from 2004, each of the participating manufacturers—members of the MSMA—have worked together over a period of two years to create an environment where differences in performance can be lessened for a relatively low level of investment, putting a stop to abnormal increases in engine power through large financial investments, and in spite of performance differences due to differing numbers of cylinders, making the gap between engines with different numbers of cylinders with the same 1,000 cc size fairer. In order to do this, we created a technical rule for the adoption of air restrictors (already fitted to the current Suzuki machines). After receiving the understanding of the various parties involved, this rule was adopted as an FIM rule for 2004 onwards.
As manufacturers of commercial machines, we drew up this rule with great care so as not to require equipment and performance for the purpose of racing exceeding that which would normally be needed for commercial motorcycles, which would consequently cause the price of the commercial machines used as the base of racing to rise, and put an unnecessary load onto ordinary consumers.
The six manufacturers that are the members of the MSMA are therefore extremely disappointed and discouraged by saying that FGSPORT and FIM wanted to change 2004 SuperBike World Championship technical regulation suddenly.
The six manufacturers that are the members of the MSMA feel that this sudden change does not conform with the quality and status of a World Championships, and does not meet basic requirements for technical rules, such as enabling large numbers of teams and companies to compete under fairer condition. The adoption of rules that are a long way away from the reasons for drafting the rule described above has had a major impact on the interest of the manufacturers in competing in World Championship SuperBike.
Moreover, it was requested to MSMA that it attended SBK Commission for the rule change.
Of course, we rejected attendance to the SBK commission that discusses such an unreasonable proposal, and decided to secede from such SBK Commission.
In addition, it is sad, but it has to be said that this is not the first time that something like this has happened. In 2000, the kit-part rules for World Championship SuperBike were suddenly changed only half a year before implementation. Members of the media will remember that event clearly.
On that occasion, too, each of the companies that were the members of the MSMA had already incurred the costs of development, the costs of manufacturing actual components, and the costs of components already ordered. The companies suffered a great deal of damage on that occasion, but had come to believe promises that the same thing would never happen again.
Despite that, the same situation has recurred after less than three years. This time too, substantial damages have been incurred through loss of investments in development costs, etc. In addition to this, the basic incentive for competing is substantially reduced as described above. As a consequence, the large majority of the MSMA member companies who were considering entering World Championship SuperBike have reviewed their positions and decided not to enter World Championship SuperBike at all.
The MSMA member companies feel that for racing at the World Championship level, quality and status need to be maintained, and that fair rules need to be introduced and kept steady. That is a prerequisite for competing.
We are aware that this MSMA decision is a very sad one for the world of motorcycle racing, but we believe that the members of the media, with their deep and all-encompassing knowledge of motorcycling, will be able to properly understand and appreciate the reasons for the decision.
We would like to ask you for your understanding and hope that you will continue to be able to give your support to the continuing support to the growth of motor cycling and motorcycle racing.