The future of SBK: come to the track, meet the champions and try the bikes!

This is how the World Championship should be according to Gianluca Montiron, former (and successful) MotoGP team manager: events, TV rights, new talents from National championships

12 febbraio 2018 - 11:24

It doesn’t take out a genius to see that MotoGP is a brand and Superbike is a product. Two worlds that should be synergic: marketing and communication strategies that can co-exist, seeing in the standard product the marketing affirmation of manufacturers, that can develop their own technology in MotoGP. It is supposed to happen already, but we don’t get the message, either. Could there be a communication problem?

TEST RIDE – As I said, according to me, Superbike should be enhanced for what it is. That’s my view. SBK races should become “Corporate” events, where fans can identify with the standard product. Teams manage bikes on the track with the support of the Manufacturers and incomes provided by the organization. The Superbike events must move towards the audience (as we see in British Superbike) and increase the involvement of the fans. Why shouldn’t be possible to organize a test ride during race weekends? We need to create direct actions that excite people: you come to the track, you see the races, you meet the champion and you even try the bike. 

RISING STARS – From the purely sport point of view, national branches should develop competitions and national championships that are preparatory to the World Championship, with comparable technical regulations. The best riders get the access to the World Championship: meritocracy (no riders who pay are accepted) and clear rules.

TV CHANGES – TV offers visibility, a great value to the championship, but the world is changing in this area too. Look what happened in football: Mediapro, a Spanish company, bought the Serie A rights without being a TV. It is a mediator, who will resell the complete product, even in its editorial part, to the operators on the market (TVs) or will create its dedicated channels. It’s a process that offers advantages, so the football societies rode on this success. It will happen with motorbikes too. Dorna will have to make an effort so that Superbike stay on free-to-air-television once the contract with Mediaset expires (end of 2018). Sponsors must work in an integrated way to promote their investments in an efficient way.

WEB FRONTIER  – Over the years, the printing press lost relevance, now you reach the target audience with the web and social networks: in this area, top players will have a leading role. Yamaha Motor Europe, with the Blu Cru program, set up a technical, sport and media training. It dedicates to young riders social network lessons, with teachers and tutorials that follow step by step their journey to the whole worldwide program. 

GUEST STAR – Insiders affirm that the championship organization has improved over the years. I’m just back from official launches and meetings, some influential company (I’m referring to Ducati and Yamaha) and top sponsors confirmed to me that they want to promote the occasional appearance of MotoGP riders in Superbike races. There are many intricacies in this situation, but it’s only a beginning: in this period, Superbike needs to regain impulse and this possibility could help.

DOWN UNDER – These are very intensive weeks, maybe it’s time to let go of meetings with Teams and sponsors and fly to Australia to enjoy the opening of the World Superbike Championship, on February 24 and 25. I have great memories of that place: in 1996 my friend Max Biaggi won the world title in the 250cc at Eastern Creek. Or, many years later, in 2010 and 2011, my team JiR Moto2 got a sensational win with Alex De Angelis at Phillip Island. Stay online…

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