While motorcycles from the Italian Ducati factory have dominated the World Superbike Championship (WSB) since the series began in 1988, the factory teams from Yamaha, Suzuki and Honda are never far away. However, we're about to see a resurgence of European involvement, with Aprilia returning to the series with its new RSV4 as well as a new factory team from BMW.
Better known for its cruisers and enduro offroaders, BMW's S 1000 RR represents a radical departure for the company by finally moving away from its traditional Boxer engine to a more conventional in-line four cylinder layout.
Looking for new areas of growth, BMW motorcycle division has decided to tackle the Japanese head-on by building a motorcycle that will compete directly in terms of mechanical layout and even appearance.As you can see from the photos, this machine has contemporary styling that rivals the best from Japan. But BMW is promising cutting edge technology to ensure its machine offers something unique. Details are scant at present but expect BMW M-derived cylinder head design and even traction control.
With the S 1000 RR entering the World Superbike Championship next year, BMW is confidently predicting it will be on the pace immediately. No doubt, the team will be hiring top WSB talent, and rumors at the recent Nrburgring race suggested Yamaha's Troy Corser had been to BMW's Munich headquarters to discuss plans for 2009. With two championships under his belt for Ducati and Suzuki, and having competed in almost 300 races, his development skills are well known.