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.
The FIM have released another provisional calendar for the MotoGP series, in response to yet another shake up of the F1 calendar by Bernie Ecclestone. With F1 and MotoGP having an informal agreement not to have their dates clash, and with MotoGP losing out in terms of TV audience whenever they do, the MotoGP calendar released in September had too many conflicts with F1.
As a result of those clashes, four races have now been moved to different dates. The German Grand Prix at the Sachsenring has been shifted back a week to 17th July. Silverstone, scheduled to be held on the 17th, has been moved to the 4th September. The Malaysian Grand Prix at Sepang has been moved from the start to the end of the Asia-Pacific triple header, and will now be run on 20th October. That shift means that the Valencia race has been pushed back a week, to 13th November.
Bridgestone today issued their customary post-race debrief after the latest round of MotoGP. This press release is of particular interest, as in it, Masao Azuma addresses the issue of the new tarmac at Misano, and how it, and the highly changeable weather conditions during the race, affected tires and tire allocations. The press release appears below:
San Marino and Rimini MotoGP™ debrief with Masao Azuma
Wednesday, September 16 2015
Bridgestone slick options: Front: Soft, Medium & Hard; Rear: Soft & Hard (Symmetric) & Medium (Asymmetric)
Bridgestone wet tyre options: Soft (Main), Hard (Alternative)
The 2015 San Marino and Rimini Grand Prix was subjected to variable weather resulting in almost the whole field changing bikes twice over the twenty-eight lap contest. In the end, Repsol Honda Team’s Marc Marquez won the race ahead of Monster Yamaha Tech 3’s Bradley Smith in second place, and Marc VDS rider Scott Redding who claimed a maiden MotoGP podium by finishing in third place.
Press releases from the MotoGP teams and others after the thrilling race in Misano:
Press releases after Sunday's races at Misano:
Racers are gamblers. The helmet designs featuring dice, cards and other gambling paraphernalia bear witness to that. They have to be gamblers, a willingness to take risks is a prerequisite to being fast on a motorcycle, running the odds through your mind and betting the house on your own ability to get the upper hand. Sometimes the gamble pays off, and when it does, the rewards are bountiful. Other times, however, you lose, leaving you a hard, hard row to hoe.
There are gambles to be taken at every MotoGP race, but Misano turned into the biggest casino the series has ever seen. Rain which came after the start then stopped again meant gambling on the right time to come in for tires – twice, once to go from slicks to wets, once to go from wets to slicks – left some riders reaping rich rewards, while others were left with empty hands. Come in too late for wets, and you could lose 10 seconds wobbling round on a wet track on slicks. Come in too late for slicks, and you could lose 10 seconds or more a lap trying to find grip on wet tires as they were tearing themselves apart. Be too cautious, as Cal Crutchlow did, and you could end up way down the finishing order. Push too hard too early, as Jorge Lorenzo did, and you could end up in the gravel.
That the rain came at all was a surprise. The forecast had been for hot and sunny weather on Sunday, as temperatures climbed through the weekend. It was only on Sunday morning that the first signs of trouble showed up, with rain and thunderstorms predicted for the afternoon. Moto3 and Moto2 went off without a hitch, but as the MotoGP bikes headed out on their sighting laps, it was already spotting with rain. That spawned panic in the pit lane, with teams checking set up, and sometimes radically changing it on the spot. Front springs were being rapidly swapped, and at Suzuki, a new shock went into Maverick Viñales' wet bike.
Jorge Lorenzo in pole position, changed tyres on the grid while his teammate Valentino Rossi lined up to his right, with Marc Marquez splitting the pair, with wings on his bike. Would it rain, just to add yet more excitement?
Back-flipping Frenchman Johann Zarco, leading the title chase by eighty-five points, sits on pole position, but the fight for second place between Alex Rins and Tito Rabat is still very much undecided.
Enea Bastianini on pole position started the race seventy points behind championship leader Danny Kent. He was the only rider at the front to fit a soft front tyre for the 23 lap race.