Future of WorldSBK | The manufacturers that might be joining the fray soon…


With five high-profile factory-backed manufacturers in Honda, Ducati, BMW, Kawasaki and Yamaha – plus a rider line-up that blends outstanding quality with decent quantity in numbers – the WorldSBK Championship is in a fairly good place right now.

Such a statement is not to be underestimated either. Indeed, sales of sportsbikes in the 1000cc-plus sector are slimming and while competing at a high-level internationally quantifies more than simply shifting said bikes to consumers if it’s promoting the brand as a whole, the flip-side is there is an increasingly shallow pool of options that could be adapted for racing.

With electric on the horizon – an investment that is likely to be syphoned from less profitable segments like the performance market – the future of WorldSBK would be very uncertain if two or even just one of the current quintet opt out.

And yet, not all hope is lost… in fact, there is a strong chance that at least one, maybe more, brand-new manufacturers could be waiting in the wings to commit to WorldSBK in the next couple of years to shake things up.

Here is the current state of alternative play…

CFMoto is developing a new 1000cc V4 sportsbike and has been making headway as a sponsor in GP


If you have more than a passing interest in the motorcycle industry as a whole, it’s likely you’ll have become very familiar with CFMoto in the last few years.

The Chinese company has been leading the growing wave of manufacturers hailing from the nation with a slew of new models aimed at encroaching on its European rivals and gobble up some valuable market share.

While CFMoto has – like other Chinese firms – relied heavily on the architecture of existing manufacturers, in its case KTM, such a tactic is laying the foundation for it to get a little creative with its own in-house models down the line… one of which is a 1000cc sportsbike.

Set to become the flagship of CFMoto’s burgeoning ‘SR’ sportsbike line – following on from the 300SR and 450SR – the proposed 1000SR is not only going to be the company’s own creation, but it’s reportedly set to come with V4 architecture, which would give Ducati its first proper rival on the racing stage.

Will CFMoto enter WorldSBK? There have been growing rumours that this is exactly what CFMoto is planning and has been steadily ramping up its efforts in motorsport as preparation, as demonstrated by its title-backing this year of the crack Aspar Team in Moto2 and Moto3. Talk is it’ll be on the grid for 2026.

QJMotor-1000RR--1200x687 Future of WorldSBK | The manufacturers that might be joining the fray soon…
Do we spy some Benelli green on this QJMotor 1000RR?


Right on cue, this weekend’s Catalunya WorldSSP will see the first appearance of the brand-new QJMotor SRK 800 RR, which will be campaigned by Raffaele de Rosa and come with factory backing from an Italian base.

The entry is seen as a first step from the Chinese firm towards potentially stepping up into WorldSBK in the next couple of years, rumours given some credence by linking up with experienced race-winning outfit Puccetti Racing.

As of yet, QJMotor doesn’t have a 1000cc-plus sportsbike to consider entering but it is understood to be working on one. It did have a technical partnership with MV Agusta to make this happen, though it’s possible this has fallen by the wayside following the Italian marque’s takeover by the Pierer Group.

Better still, it could end up being a Benelli WorldSBK effort, which would mark the Italian marque’s first outing in the series since a brief sojourn back in 2002.

The historic firm is owned by QJMotor and when spy shots of the company’s new sportsbike emerged online last year, some were quick to point out it had been decked in Benelli’s green and silver corporate hues…

Will QJMotor or Benelli enter WorldSBK? The signs look rather good with QJMotor joining CFMoto in making moves into grand prix racing by sponsoring Gresini Racing’s Moto2 effort. With QJMotor expanding rapidly into Europe right now and Benelli growing at a similar rate in Asia, a WorldSBK entry seems a perfect complement.

Leon-Camier-MV-Agusta-Reparto-Corse-MV-Agusta-F4-2014-WorldSBK-Jerez-action-Gold-Goose-1200x802 Future of WorldSBK | The manufacturers that might be joining the fray soon…
MV Agusta has made big claims about wanting to go back to WorldSBK and MotoGP in future

MV Agusta

When it comes to MV Agusta, some things seem to happen very quickly, such as its sudden takeover by the Pierer Group earlier this month, but then also very slowly, such as the development and production of new models.

Indeed, the Italian marque – which has definitely flourished under the day-to-day management of the Sardarov family – has been promising a return to top level motorsport for some years now. And not just WorldSBK, where it raced for a time in the last decade, but in MotoGP too.

For now it has its venerable F3 800 RR doing impressive things in WorldSSP so the foundation is already there in the paddock, but since the F4 was discontinued it hasn’t had a bike to race.

However, one is supposed to be on the way, though many expected to have seen it debut already so it’s unclear when it will appear.

Will MV Agusta enter WorldSBK? Thankfully, MV Agusta’s litany of owners have always spoken up the marque’s heritage when it comes to motorsport and it therefore seems a future programme – be it in WorldSBK, MotoGP or both – seems to be in the pipeline. Trouble is with MV Agusta, it’s very hard to get a gauge on when exactly this will be.

Max-Biaggi-Aprilia-Racing-Aprilia-RSV4-2010-WorldSBK-Imola-action-Gold-Goose-1200x798 Future of WorldSBK | The manufacturers that might be joining the fray soon…
Could Aprilia ‘do a Ducati’ in future and re-engineer the RSV4 to meet the 1000cc criteria?


How difficult would it be for Aprilia to lop 100cc from its engine to ensure its RSV4 could legitimately race in WorldSBK again?

Alternatively, how difficult would it be for the FIM to relinquish the strict 1000cc maximum limit for motorcycles competing in WorldSBK?

Either way, there doesn’t seem to be too much of an appetite from either party to appease one another, though it’s interesting to see the RSV4 remains homologated for an international Superstock class that doesn’t actually exist.

Aprilia has answered queries about whether it would consider a return to a series it won in 2010 and 2012 with Max Biaggi and been positive about re-entering – particularly now its MotoGP team is competing at the front – but is very reluctant to ‘do a Ducati’ and develop a different engine to meet regulations.

Will Aprilia enter WorldSBK? Seems unlikely in the current climate, not least because Piaggio has been hesitant with throwing its full weight of investment behind MotoGP, let alone an additional WorldSBK effort. However, the WorldSSP changes shows what can be done with a bit of regulation loosening/Balance of Performance tinkering, so it’s not all lost.

Marc-Garcia-China-Racing-Team-Kove-321RR-2023-WorldSSP-300-Magny-Cours-action-Gold-Goose-1200x800 Future of WorldSBK | The manufacturers that might be joining the fray soon…
Little-known Chinese firm Kove has already made some waves in the WorldSSP 300 class…


Having made a little bit of history by becoming the first Chinese manufacturer to enter a WorldSBK series with its debut in the WorldSSP 300 class, Kove appears to have big ambitions of running with the likes of CFMoto and QJMotor in Europe.

While the firm didn’t exactly set the WorldSSP 300 series alight initially with its modest choice of inexperienced Chinese riders, it was opened up to a world of opportunity mid-season when it lured 2017 champion Marc Garcia to its team as a substitute.

With the Spaniard turning Kove into a top ten contender against a hoard of Kawasaki and Yamaha rivals, the firm realised it has a useful machine on its hands and have duly upped investment with a new variant of its 321RR debuting and Garcia on a full-time deal.

Will Kove enter WorldSBK? It needs a 1000cc model but they seem to be developed very quickly in China and it’s likely Kove will at least be watching WorldSSP and QJMotor’s entry with interest. For now though it seems happy to focus on both WorldSSP 300 and the Dakar Rally.

Voge-RR-660-03-2024-169Gallery-27e7433d-2089770.jpg-copy-1200x675 Future of WorldSBK | The manufacturers that might be joining the fray soon…
Voge has just launched its first middleweight sportsbike and is understood to be developing a 1000cc model based on the BMW S 1000 RR


One of Europe’s newest motorcycle brands, while Voge has only made a little headway into the UK’s consciousness with its mid-size, well-priced sports tourers, talk from China is that we’re on the cusp of a major influx of new models – one of which is a 1000cc model based on the architecture of the BMW S 1000 RR.

Will Voge enter WorldSBK? Voge hasn’t given any indication that it is planning a motorsport division, but branching out into new middleweight and sportsbike segments might not be a coincidence.

Dirk-Geiger-Freudenberg-Pilagio-Racing-KTM-RC390-2023-WorldSSP-action-Gold-Goose-1200x680 Future of WorldSBK | The manufacturers that might be joining the fray soon…
KTM races in WorldSSP 300 – as well as MotoGP – and has been busy developing a new RC sportsbike range too


Predicting whether KTM will enter WorldSBK isn’t so much about whether it will develop a proper replacement for the long-since discontinued KTM RC 8 but perhaps whether the series will follow Triumph’s lead in allowing clip-on fairings for naked motorcycles.

While this wouldn’t necessarily make a KTM entry viable (it currently offers the 1290cc Super Duke R), it is returning to the sportsbike arena just below the threshold with the KTM RC 990, albeit equipped with two-cylinders on its wagon.

Will KTM enter WorldSBK? While the shortlived RC 8 was designed to race in WorldSBK – but never did – KTM has shown little interest in trying again in the 15 years since, instead deciding to devote its attentions to MotoGP. This doesn’t seem likely to change, but a WorldSSP entry might be on the cards… 



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