The World Superbike calendar has been reduced to 13 events. The Russian round of WSBK, scheduled to be held at the Moscow Raceway on 5th July has been canceled, after the event organizer, YMS Promotion, failed to provide the contract guarantees required by the contract. As a further consequence, the Yakhnich Motorsport Team have also lost their slot on the 2015 World Supersport grid, which was tied in with the Russian round.
The cancellation of the Russian round did not come as a surprise. The Russian WSBK round is a legacy of the last years of Infront running the series. Infront and YMS signed a ten-year deal to organize a World Superbike round in Russia, but continuing political instability in Russia, tensions between Europe and Russia over Ukraine, and murky regional politics have made it impossible to stage a race there. The round was placed on the calendar automatically, because of the existing contract, but it was never expected to actually take place.
The Russian round of World Superbikes will not be replaced. Instead, the series will run 13 rounds in 2015. Below is the press release and updated 2015 WSBK calendar.
2015 WSBK Calendar update
FIM Superbike & Supersport World Championships
FIM Superstock 1000 cc Cup
2015 calendar, 11 February
The FIM have finally released the provisional calendar for the World Superbike series for next year. The 2015 season will see WSBK travel to 14 rounds, returning to all of the venues which hosted races in 2014, and two more overseas rounds added, in Russia and Thailand.
The chances of this being the definitive calendar appear to be slim. Three rounds are marked as still subject to contract: Portimao, Moscow and Qatar. Both Portimao and Qatar look likely to go ahead, but whether WSBK will actually return to Moscow remains to be seen. The 2014 round was canceled due to the political instability in the Russian Federation and the overflow of conflict in Ukraine, which affected various partners of the series. The political situation has only deteriorated since then, with the EU and US imposing sanctions on Russia, making the race there almost impossible. The teams and riders will be hoping for the round to be canceled: the race was a logistical nightmare to get equipment to and from, and for both the fans and riders to attend and find accommodation for.
Press releases from the series organizer and Ducati after Monday's one-day World Superbike test at Imola:
Final times at the end of the official WSBK test at Imola:
At the beginning of a weekend, there are eight riders that can be considered serious dry-weather podium contenders and all of those men are in the top eight of the championship.
Press releases from the World Supersport and World Superbike teams after Sunday's races at Imola:
Nineteen more laps at 23ºC and everyone chose the Pirelli SC0 soft tyre as the warm weather settled down.
The World Supersport race would be seventeen laps on a windy track at 22ºC.
Nineteen laps in the morning's race at 22ºC.
Press releases from the series organizer and World Superbike and World Supersport teams after qualifying at Imola:
Qualifying warmed up as the temperature climbed, with Superpole two taking part under a 29ºC sun and on top of a 51ºC track.
A red flag in the middle of the session didn't slow down qualifying, and neither did a rider trying to kick another rider's bike off the track.