The FIM today released the provisional 2018 WorldSBK version. Just as last year, the schedule contains thirteen rounds, spread out from February to late October. Two circuits visited in 2017 are out, Jerez and the Lausitzring, while Brno makes a return to the WorldSBK schedule, and a brand new circuit in the west of Argentina, near the border with Chile.
Notes and quotes on the second WorldSBK race at Imola from our man on the ground:
Momentum for a technical shake-up in WorldSBK has increased but the manner to instigate that change is a big question
The Imola paddock was full of rumor and discussion about changes to the technical regulations for 2018. With Kawasaki and Ducati having shared all but four wins since the start of the 2015 season there have been calls to grant other manufacturers some avenues with which to improve performance. Discussions between the manufacturers took place once again in Italy to lay down a framework for the future.
No answers were forthcoming but with Yamaha and Honda having brought all-new Superbikes to the series in the last year and struggled to compete with the front runners it is clear that the winds of change may be in the air. For 2017 Aprilia increased their involvement with the Milwaukee Aprilia bikes built and prepared in Italy. The former title winning marque has thus far failed live up to preseason expectations.
Press releases from the series organizers and the teams after Sunday's races at Imola:
WorldSBK standings after the second race of the weekend at Imola:
WorldSSP standings after the fifth race of the season:
The World Supersport restarted race would be eleven laps and Federico Caricasulo would start from fourth place on the grid, albeit with a ride through penalty still hanging around his neck.
As is customary this weekend, the start of this race was delayed, this time by a red flag caused by Ayrton Badovini's engine exploding into a sheep's worth of cloud on the second lap. The restart took longer than usual as the track was made safe, but eventually an eighteen lap race was started.
World Supersport’s race was delayed initially for a bike that returned to the pits smoking. Safety dictated that the track was checked for oil. After it was cleared, the race was started with sixteen laps intended, down one from the original seventeen, but that was red flagged after two laps due to a Robbie Rolfo crash. The restart lasted four laps before Robbie Rolfo crashed again, joined by Kazuki Watanabe and Marco Malone this time, bringing out red flags again. World Supersport will resume after World Superbike has completed and everyone’s had enough time to figure out the rules. The restart will be 14:20 local time.