World’s premier production-based race class? You’d be hard pressed to tell...
World not-so-superbike and the new 300s. It's not like it was in Foggy's day.
IT’S FAIR TO say the World Superbike Championship has been a bit flat this year. The racing hasn’t been that great and the Kawasakis have just dominated, despite an improved showing by Ducati in the second half of the season. There used to be so many strong characters in WSB, like Carl Fogarty, Scott Russell and Noriyuki Haga, who certainly weren’t as politically correct as the current riders. It’s weird to say this because it’s great to see them there, but there are almost too many Brits in the championship – British Superbike has a more international grid than WSB these days! The new two-day format just doesn’t seem to be working either and Dorna are being very cagey about it. One of our Eurosport team tried to interview one of the top men at Dorna about crowd figures and TV audiences but he seemed to take offence, and made it clear it was a question he didn’t want to answer. A WSB meeting loses a lot of its impact having the races spread over two days, and if the racing on the Saturday isn’t great then I think a lot of people don’t bother coming back on Sunday. Dorna said the move was made to create more interest and spread the racing over a full weekend but there aren’t enough strong support classes in WSB to make that work. Look at BSB – you get around 12 races in a single day. The big selling point of WSB was always that the fans got to see two Superbike races in a single day. I wish the organisers would be big enough to admit that the experiment hasn’t worked and just change it back to its original format. And we need the return of wild card riders too. It used to be great to see American, Australian, Japanese and British riders all having a go at their home rounds, and being truly competitive too. But WSB rules are different to most domestic championships now, so that no longer happens. Having said all that, some of the rider and team changes might shake things up a bit next year. Michael van der Mark moving to Yamaha is an interesting one, as is Stefan Bradl moving from Motogp to join Nicky Hayden on the new Honda Fireblade. Sean Muir’s team will be running Aprilias next year with Eugene Laverty and Marco Melandri may take Davide Giuliano’s ride at Ducati, so there’s lots of changes happening. Let’s hope it’s enough to give WSB the kick up the ass that it needs and deserves.
Amazing bikes, top-class pilots, sparse crowd. Let’s hope 2017 sees WSB return to former glory
WSB has the fastest production race bikes, piloted by top-class riders (many whom are Brits) at the world’s finest circuits. It’s sad to see this once-great series a shadow of its former self. Let’s hope they can sort it out.