Team Hero EBR undergoes overhaul for 2015

AMA Superbike veteran Larry Pegram and former FIM Superstock 1000 champion Niccolo Canepa to spearhead new WSBK assault

team hero ebr complete overhaul for 2015

Team Hero EBR's debut on the world stage in WSBK has been, to say the least, far from triumphant. In its first year in the production-based World Superbike Championship, the factory team did not score any points and was plagued by mechanical failures. Only veteran Larry Pegram gave the Wisconsin-based manufacturer some solace when he scored a 14th place in Race Two at the Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca event as a wild-card entry. This seemingly minor result, however, did not go unnoticed, and the 41-year-old American will spearhead EBR's second shot at worldwide glory in 2015, serving both as rider and overall team manager.

“Although there were only a few AMA races in 2014, my team and I learned the EBR quickly,” Pegram said. “Our points finish in WSBK at Laguna Seca, and podium finish in the last AMA race weekend show the potential of this motorcycle.”

To push forward the development of the 1190 RX and increase its overall competitiveness, EBR also signed Italian Niccolò Canepa. The former FIM Superstock 1000 champion has plenty of experience as a test rider, having developed the Ducati 1098 model from 2006 until 2008, both in stock and racing versions, as well as having conducted several tests on both the Panigale and the Desmosedici.

“I'm leaving for the U.S. next week, and I will try the 1190 RX in Florida and nearby New Orleans for four days combined,” Canepa said. “Basically, I only know it has two cylinders (laughs). I'm excited about this new challenge. EBR came a long way from mid-season and really got my attention. I am looking forward to being part of the next step up in performance.”

Despite no official news about the team's permanent roster, rumors say the technical direction will be carried out entirely by American personnel in 2015.

“2014 was a learning year for us and it was an incredible task to take on last year, having riders and motorcycles new to the circuit, and team members with no experience on our bikes,” commented Erik Buell. “Since we had a wide range of new people from different backgrounds, we did a large amount of experimentation during the 2014 season to capture a matrix of results from inputs of different team members. Many suggestions did not work out, but all were good for learning. We have made many changes and I look forward to seeing how these all play out.”

This can be translated to mean that EBR has terminated the partnership with QB Racing, the team led by Giulio Bardi and Claudio Quintarelli. The Italian pair—who worked successfully with Yamaha before the company’s official departure from WSBK after the 2009 season—are also taking different paths. Quintarelli is reportedly lending logistical support to EBR, renting the racing shop near Verdello, as well as trucks and hospitality facilities.

Given its massive overhaul and the WSBK 2015 regulations' move toward a more Superstock-style technical direction, Team Hero EBR's 2015 WSBK campaign may yield some surprises. After all, things can only improve from here on out.

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