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So… about those BMW-to-MotoGP rumours and why they could be true

Gold & Goose

Reading between lines isn’t so much a journalistic skill, but it can certainly become a journalist’s hobby.

Sure, the ‘art’ of reading a press release but hearing completely different words in your head to what is literally on paper does require an acceptance that you may be forced to admit you were hurling pinches of salt at the time if you proceed to commit ‘your version of events’ to scribe.

But over time it can err into a more skilled territory with experience. 


For instance, do this job for a few years and you need only get about four words into certain ‘rider quotes’ to recognise those words came from a trusty press officer rather than the person whose name prefixes them. Even during the early days of my career turning F1 press releases into articles, I’d be writing the article before receiving the quotes because a) you knew BMW arrived in the inbox first, followed by Toro Rosso and then Toyota (showing my age here, ahem…) and b) you knew exactly what the benign, samey quote was going to be say.

Sometimes press releases don’t even need quotes to pique interest and it isn’t always about what said communication even says - it’s about why and why now.

Take the news that BMW Motorrad Motorsport is restructuring its management hierarchy. Sounds pretty dry and it is, but so was the roll-out. This press release was short, contained no quotes and was sent on BMW’s official wires (ie. not via its racing channels).

It explains that Sven Blusch will be assuming a more defined ‘big boss’ Head of BMW Motorrad Motorsport role, a position de facto erstwhile held by Marc Bongers, who instead will become the rather vague yet wordy ‘operational management of the FIM Superbike World Championship (WorldSBK) engagement’.

So far, so meh… 

But ‘reading between the lines’ throws up several interesting questions with some potentially interesting answers going forward.

The creation of a position that oversees all of BMW’s motorsport activity - including the TT and Endurance World Championship - is logical, but it’s one that was seemingly being managed with aplomb by Bongers. 

BMW was this close to entering MotoGP in the mid-2000s until the regs changed... this time it can be ready at the start of the next overhaul


Is MotoGP finally on the horizon for BMW?

Perhaps inevitably, the restructuring has been interpreted as being for a higher purpose and that the role of Blusch - who previously headed up BMW M Motorsport’s four-wheel division, which included leading it back to the Le Mans 24 Hours and enter Formula E - is to stage manage BMW’s interest in submitting an entry to MotoGP.

Now, these aren’t ‘new’ rumours. In fact, so often has the question been asked - and dismissed - that BMW has a cut-copy-paste response along the lines of its preferring to focus on WorldSBK for that is where it can promote models the public actually buy.

It’s a pretty solid response, but it has never stopped the questions. But the arrival of Blusch makes a couple of important points, primarily that BMW Motorrad is committed to motorsport for the foreseeable future - which is significant for a manufacturer that has tended ‘be here one year, abruptly gone the next’ when things don’t work out. And, let’s face it, WorldSBK isn’t exactly working out right now…


“With a new management structure, BMW Motorrad emphasises its ambitions to significantly strengthen the brand’s commitment to motorsport…” is the exact wording in the press release.

The key word is ‘strengthen’ because - considering the models it actually sells - MotoGP is arguably the only absent project in its portfolio. Well, that and Dakar maybe if BMW is planning to re-jig its off-road offerings.

Point is, Blusch brings credentials at lofty levels, exactly the kind of experienced hand to, I don’t know, shoulder the responsibility of taking a high-profile brand into a high-profile championship.

Sometimes you'd be forgiven for thinking BMW already raced in MotoGP...

Why would BMW enter MotoGP… and when?

Dorna has been courting BMW for a long time. Indeed, the manufacturer came close to entering in the mid-2000s and went as far as building a prototype to test, only for the regulators to rather rudely change the formula and leave it the choice of either starting from scratch or adapting it into what would become the S 1000 RR sportsbike.

It’s a scenario Dorna will be keen to avoid this time around. It already has a close relationship with the marque via BMW’s sponsorship and supply of course vehicles during each MotoGP round, but there is a regulation change on the horizon from around 2027, meaning now would be the time to begin rounding on those not at the party to consider their options going forward.

From a commercial perspective, BMW is putting a lot of time, money and effort in promoting new hyper ‘M’ sub-brand versions of its existing models (M 1000 RR, M 1000 R, M 1000 XR), an itch it can certainly scratch in WorldSBK but arguably falls short of the level of notoriety for performance that rivals Ducati, Aprilia and - perhaps most crucially - KTM are gaining via MotoGP.

In fact, KTM acts as both a motivator and detractor when it comes to signing off on entering MotoGP for BMW. The Austrian firm - which you remember was already well entrenched in grand prix racing upon moving to MotoGP - had to really go all-in to reach competitiveness after a few seasons

It’s an investment that doesn’t really suit BMW’s trend of having just short tenures in various motorsport series’ before deciding to go elsewhere. But coming in at the time of a regulation change might give it a fighting chance to be at least there or thereabouts straight away in competitiveness.

On the flip side, however, BMW is having its European market share pinched by the ever-expanding Pierer Group, which has only just this week added MV Agusta to join KTM, Husqvarna and GasGas to its fleet, while sales of sportsbikes are generally heading in the wrong direction to keep justifying the same ‘direct to the people’ marketing spiel if people aren’t buying them.

BMW says it races in WorldSBK to sell S/M 1000 RRs... but will people be buying them in future?

That’s not to say motorsport isn’t a valuable way to engage with the public and get them into your dealerships, but with WorldSBK’s future admittedly shaky as it ponders how to evolve towards an era of ‘more electric, less rev-licking performance’ on the road, MotoGP - with crazy machines built to race for a select few - stands forth as a series that can circumnavigate its eco-conscience for longer because it isn’t directly connected to anything we can buy, while still giving maximum exposure for brands on a global scale.

That, or BMW has just been worn out by the number of times Carmelo Ezpeleta - who is determined to replace Suzuki with a manufacturer - approaches it about it.

Point is, perhaps more than ever, a BMW MotoGP entry makes more sense than before if it’s looking into the crystal ball and it’s telling the absolute truth about its commitment to two-wheel motorsport.

And this is just BMW… we have a sneaking suspicion there will be an MV Agusta MotoGP project getting on the go soon, one with its roots firmly in KTM, but self-sufficient enough to ensure it competes on its own two wheels.

As for BMW, its entry would be a big deal… just so long as it avoids plastering those god-awful ginormous walrus tusk grilles on it. Modern MotoGP bikes are (sorry) ‘fugly’ enough as it is… 

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