Laguna Seca, USA
The FIM today released the provisional 2016 calendar for the World Superbike championship. There is good news and bad news in the calendar, with Portimao disappearing from the calendar, but Monza making a welcome return. World Superbikes will also be returning to Germany, with the entire circus turning up to the Lausitzring, just north of Dresden. The best news is that there are no direct clashes with MotoGP, but WSBK will be running on the same date as F1 for nine rounds, though only the Donington and Monza rounds happen in the same timezone. Given the different time schedules for F1 and WSBK, bike racing fans should not have to miss any of the action.
The Lausitzring was not the only option considered when WSBK looked at returning to Germany. The series was also in talks with the Sachsenring, as the MotoGP round is immensely popular there. In the end, Lausitz was chosen, WSBK having raced there previously from 2005 to 2007.
2015 has not been kind to Davide Giugliano. The factory Ducati rider was already forced to miss the first four rounds of the season after fracturing two lumbar vertebrae in testing crash at Phillip Island, a week before the season began. Now he will be forced to miss the remainder of the season, after scans revealed a fracture of the thoracic vertebra D3, sustained in a crash at Laguna Seca.
Giugliano crashed during race 2 at Laguna Seca, cartwheeling spectacularly through the gravel at Turn 6 when a few spots of rain started to fall at the circuit. Though he was initially only diagnosed with some heavy bruising, upon his return to Italy, the Aruba.it Ducati man decided to have another scan, in part to ensure that no further damage had been done to the vertebrae he injured back in February. The scan turned up a fracture of a different vertebra, however, and Giugliano was told that the recovery period would be three months. That effectively put an end to his 2015 season, ruling him out of the remainder of the races.
Press releases from the World Superbike teams after Sunday's races at Laguna Seca:
In the first race, Leon Haslam used different tyres to the rest of the field and looked like he would repeat his choice for race two, but instead, at the last minute, he switched to the same tyres as everyone else.
After a wet warmup this morning, the track had dried out, and the race would be twenty five laps of the shortest circuit of the series at a cooler temperature than usual.
Press releases after qualifying at Laguna:
World Superbike returns to the anti-clockwise Laguna Seca after a four-week break in racing, and the Kawasakis and Ducatis have dominated practice, with the Aprilias close behind.
Jonathan Rea and Tom Sykes came out of the untimed session on top, once more holding off three Ducatis, led by Chaz Davies.
Tom Sykes led the cooler overcast morning session ahead of Chaz Davies and Davide Giugliano, in a very close session.
Press releases after the first day of practice at Laguna Seca:
Chas Davies, third quickest this morning, climbs to the top of the pile with Tom Sykes on the Kawasaki holding off his Ducati teammate Davide Giugliano. Jonathan Rea was fourth quickest while Niccolo Canepa continued to shine in fifth.
In the first session back after a long break, the Kawasakis go quickest with the Ducatis right behind them. Jonathan Rea was quickest ahead of Tom Sykes and Chaz Davies. The Ducati in fourth place was not that of Davide Giugliano, he was fifth quickest, but was Nicollo Canepa on the Althea bike. There was a brief red flag two thirds of the way through, but it wasn't a serious incident and the day's schedule hasn't been impacted.
Press releases ahead of this weekend's World Superbike round at Laguna Seca: