The FIM has announced the provisional WorldSBK calendar for the 2019 season. The calendar as it stands has 13 rounds, 12 of which have been confirmed. Brno and Laguna Seca are out, while Jerez makes a comeback, with a midsummer round still to be announced. That round could be Kyalami.
The season starts out in a similar vein to previous years, kicking off proceedings at Phillip Island on 24th February, before heading to Buriram in Thailand three weeks later. Three weeks after that, the series lands in Europe, racing first at Aragon in Spain, where WorldSBK and WorldSSP are joined by the WorldSSP300 class, before heading north to Assen for the Dutch round. Four weeks after Assen, the WorldSBK paddock heads south to Italy for the round at Imola.
There has been a fair shake up of the middle of the season, with various rounds reshuffled. From Imola, the paddock heads west again to Spain, this time to Jerez, then drives all the way back again to Misano. From Misano, WorldSBK heads to the UK, for the British round at Donington Park.
After Donington, an additional round has been scheduled, though it is not yet clear where that is. It is widely expected to be Kyalami, though details remain to be finalized. After this round, WorldSBK heads into its long summer break, with no racing through the month of August.
Press releases from the teams and organizers after the final round of WorldSBK in Qatar:
WorldSBK race two cancelled in Qatar
WorldSSP standings after the final round of the season at Qatar:
After the shortened World Supersport race finished with almost a third of the riders not completing the race, the World Superbike race was cancelled. While World Supersport runs with treaded tyres, World Superbike's full slicks would have been a liability with all the standing water running across the track at fast corners. With nothing on the line, except Jonathan Rea's attempts at hording more records, the race was sensibly cancelled.
The last World Supersport race of the year was delayed by adverse weather in Qatar, first with a sandstorm, then a rainstorm. The championship decider between Sandro Cortese and Jules Cluzel was then reduced to just twelve laps on a dry track with rivers of water across a few corners.
A huge storm, and the threat of more bad weather, has forced Dorna to delay action on the final day of the WorldSBK season in Qatar. Torrential rain has flooded the track, and garages, and strong winds have caused damage around the circuit, including to the podium area. Various videos and photos posted on social media showed the severity of the storm.
For the moment, all action has been postponed, awaiting inspections of the track and the floodlights. Initially, racing had been canceled, but the organizers revised the decision and will look at various options to ensure that racing does happen. Although the WorldSBK title is settled, the WorldSSP title is still wide open, with just 5 points separating Sandro Cortese and Jules Cluzel.
There are a number of options for the organizers. They can either wait and hope the weather will clear, and run the races under the floodlights, or they can postpone the racing until Sunday. Both those options would cause a problem for the teams, many of whom are booked onto flights back to Europe tonight. That would also involve considerable cost, and an argument over who would bear it. Alternatively, Dorna could call off the final day of action altogether.
WorldSBK standings after Race 1 at Qatar:
World Superbike's penultimate race of 2018 took place under the floodlights of Losail, Qatar. The sun's departure gave the track a drop in temperature down to 30ºC. Jake Smrz missed out this weekend, leaving just eighteen bikes to contest the win over seventeen laps.