Top ten lists are by their very nature subjective; beauty is in the eye of the beholder after all. From the moment the season started in Australia until the very end there was a great scrap for the title, with the fight going down to the wire in Qatar. But who was the best rider of 2016? This is the MotoMatters.com top ten riders of the 2016 WorldSBK season.
The second day of the Jerez test dawned in similar circumstances to yesterday. With dense fog and cool temperatures it looked as though there would be sparse action on track but almost immediately Ondrej Jezek rolled down pitlane. With Grillini team only running for half of the allotted time Jezek was keen to get out and gain some experience on a WorldSBK machine.
While the Czech was spinning laps the majority of the field was waiting their time for the conditions to improve. Though the KRT riders stayed in the pits all day yesterday, they did get some wet weather running today.
Come to Spain they said, the weather will be great they said...
There are typically only a handful of valuable winter testing venues. Jerez in the south of Spain is one of the most popular. Usually the winter sun provides almost perfect conditions for WorldSBK teams to undertake their off-season programs. The weather was not co-operating today and there was limited mileage for all of the runners.
The test did however offer the first glimpses of the Milwaukee Aprilia. Their partnership has been one of the biggest off-season talking points and while Lorenzo Savadori and Eugene Laverty were unable to complete a lot of miles they were at least able to start their tenure with the team. For Laverty it also marked a return to the WorldSBK paddock after two years in MotoGP. As a result the team were keen to get out on track and a 11.20am Savadori ventured out.
2016 has been a strange year. New tires have made teams have to gamble much more on set up. New electronics have drawn the teeth of Honda and Yamaha, making it easier for Ducati, Suzuki, and to a lesser extent, Aprilia to catch up. The wet and wild weather has made it even more difficult to get set up right, with session after session lost to the rain. A wider range of competitive bikes has upped the level of competition even further. So we enter the final race of the year having already seen nine winners, and with dreams of a tenth.
That seems vanishingly unlikely. The three riders on the front row at Valencia have won ten of the seventeen rounds, with two more winners on the second row, and other two on the third row. At a track like Valencia, with so few passing opportunities, it is hard to see how a rider who hasn't won yet can make their way past the previous winners to claim victory. They will not get any assistance from the weather – the forecast looks steady and constant, not particularly warm, but dry and sunny. The only way to win the Valencia round of MotoGP is the hard way.
And then there's Jorge Lorenzo. The Spaniard has been up and down all season, at the tender mercies of available grip levels and the nature of the tires Michelin have brought to the races. At Valencia, everything has fallen into place. The rear tire Michelin have brought uses the more pliable carcass which was also available at Brno and Misano. The new profile front tire the French tire maker has brought is stronger in the middle of the corner, which plays to Lorenzo's strengths. And boy, is Lorenzo strong at Valencia.
Press releases from the teams and series organizer after the final round of the season for the WorldSBK series:
Double Champion Rea Makes Superbike History With Kawasaki
Jonathan Rea (Kawasaki Racing Team) secured his second FIM Superbike World Championship in succession thanks to a second place finish in the opening race at Losail in Qatar. The last time this feat was achieved was 17 years ago. Tom Sykes (KRT) finished fourth in the race to remain second in the championship standings, with one race remaining tomorrow.
Press releases from the organizers and teams after Sunday's races at Jerez:
Davies Can’t Be Beat at Jerez
- Unstoppable Ducati and the duelling Kawasakis -
Davies dominates the field in Jerez Race 2
Press releases from teams and the organizers previewing the penultimate round of WorldSBK, where titles in both World Superbikes and World Supersport are at stake:
The Hunt for Rea is on
Sykes and Davies still in with a fighting chance
Press releases from the series organizers and teams after Sunday's World Superbike and World Supersport races from Magny-Cours:
Press releases from the organizers and teams after qualifying and Saturday's first World Superbike race in France:
Press releases from the organizers and teams after the first day of practice at Magny-Cours:
Magny-Cours: Day 1
Davies on Fire as Friday’s Fastest Overall
- Ducati rider fastest again in FP2 -
Davies unstoppable as fastest man on Friday.