Teams can do as much testing as they like from January 1 up until the first round, and again after the final round until December 31. However, during the season, testing is restricted to 12 days at permanent circuits for registered BSB riders and teams.
No testing is allowed at a circuit hosting a championship event in the seven days preceding the first official practice day. And teams must register test days during this period at least 72 hours before any planned event to gain approval.
The pre-season has seen the majority of teams visit at least one of the Spanish circuits of Guadix, Cartagena, Almeria, Monteblanco and Calafat with official UK tests taking place at Silverstone and Donington Park last week.
Three packed days of BSB action
A typical MCE British Superbike weekend takes place over three days, with free practice on day one, qualifying on day two and two MCE BSB races on day three. Three 50-minute practice sessions are staged (two on Friday – FP1 and FP2, and one on Saturday morning, FP3) and all riders then start the three-part qualifying session on Saturday afternoon.
Thirty riders go into the 18-minute Q1 session with the top 18 going into the 12-minute Q2. Riders can put in as many laps as they wish during each session but at the end of Q2, slower riders are eliminated with the fastest nine going through to Superpole for the final single-lap shootout.
The 2016 grid will see 30 riders lining up, with three riders lining up on each row. Twelve rounds will be held during 2016 with two races at each with the exception of Oulton Park in September and the final round at Brands Hatch in October where three races are held. This makes a total of 26 races during the season.
Nine circuits are currently used – Oulton, Brands, Donington Park, Silverstone, Snetterton, Cadwell Park, Knockhill, Assen and Thruxton – with Brands being visited three times and Oulton twice. All other circuits are visited once.
Qualifying determines the grid for race one, but the fastest laps from the opening race determine the starting order for the second race. Each race lasts approximately 30 minutes.
And there’s more
BSB isn’t just about the feature Superbike class and, indeed, the support classes have been the springboard to success for many of the UK’S leading riders.
At present, there’s a timetable of regular support races, including the Dickies British Supersport Championship, HEL Performance Motostar Championship, Pirelli National Superstock 1000, Pirelli National Superstock 600, Ducati Trioptions Cup, Santander Consumer Finance KTM British Junior Cup and Hyundai Heavy Industries British Sidecar Championship.
Getting a grip with Pirelli
BSB introduced a single-make tyre rule in 2008 with Pirelli becoming the sole supplier. The thinking was to level the playing field, preventing any rider from having an advantage or disadvantage at any given track, therefore making the racing even more exciting. There are multiple compounds available to each rider. Some give more grip than others and some will last longer. The temperature of the track is also a major factor in which tyre a rider will chose. The compounds are SC1 and SC2 front options and SC0, SC1 and SC2 rear, with 0 being the softest and 2 the hardest.
BSB CHAMPION 1996, 97, 98
Scotsman Mackenzie spent a career racing against the very best in the 500GP world championship. After years battling against American legends Wayne Rainey, Eddie Lawson and Kevin Schwantz, Mackenzie returned to BSB where he took the series to another level, winning three titles in a row.
BSB CHAMPION 2001, 2004
Softly spoken and mild off the bike, Reynolds was a fierce competitor the moment he got on it. A match for anyone on his day, Reynolds also competed in GPS and stood on the podium in WSB on more than one occasion. He repeated his 2001 title success with another crown in 2004.
BSB CHAMPION 2011
Hill became one of the youngest ever riders to compete in BSB. After a spell in the world championship he returned to win the title by the closest ever margin in the final race of the year ahead of American John Hopkins. He now runs his own MCE BSB team and has Hopkins as his number one rider.