World Superbikes

WorldSBK Schedule Clarified: Race 1 Saturday, 10 Lap Sprint Race Sunday To Set Grid For Race 2

Ever since the Superbike Commission - the rule-making body for WorldSBK - announced back in October that a third race would be added to the WorldSBK schedule, we have wondered exactly what this would mean for the class, both in terms of championship points and qualifying position for the second WorldSBK race, held on Sunday. On Tuesday, the FIM issued a press release containing the missing details for the coming season.

The new schedule impacts both qualifying and the races. The current two-stage Superpole has been abolished, replaced with a single Superpole session for the World Superbike and the World Supersport series. Those qualifying sessions will set the grid for the WorldSSP race on Sunday, and WorldSBK race 1 - the normal length race - on Saturday, and a new, 10-lap sprint race to be held on Sunday. 

The 10-lap sprint race - to be named the Tissot Superpole race - will set the first 9 positions of the grid for the second full-length race on Sunday afternoon. Positions 10 and onwards will be set using the qualifying positions from Saturday's Superpole session, presumably taking account of riders who qualified inside the top 9 but crashed out of the Superpole race on Sunday.

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Ten Kate WorldSBK Team Declared Bankrupt

Ten Kate Racing BV, the private limited company housing the Ten Kate Racing team's racing activities, has been declared bankrupt by a Dutch court. The Ten Kate team had been forced to file for bankruptcy after last-minute attempts to put together a WorldSBK effort for 2019 had failed.

Ten Kate placed the blame for the bankruptcy squarely on Honda. The Dutch racing team had started out competing on Honda Supersport bikes, a natural choice given the team was a spin off of Ronald and Gerrit ten Kate's Honda motorcycle dealership in Nieuwleusen, in the east of The Netherlands.

Despite racing in both the World Supersport and World Superbike championships, and winning titles in both classes, the team never received much backing from Honda, and none at all from HRC in Japan for most of their existence, support coming from Honda Europe, the European distributor. Ten Kate were never HRC's choice, and so when HRC decided to make a return to the championship, they were always going to want to make their own choice about which structure to use.

The fact that Ten Kate only found on 30th October that HRC had chosen Althea and Moriwaki to partner with for the 2019 season, and HRC would not be providing any support for the Dutch team next year, mean that it was impossible to find other alternatives at such short notice. Contacts with other manufacturers faltered, and they could not find the necessary budget to continue in their present condition.

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2018 Jerez WorldSBK Test Tuesday Round Up: Rea Still Reigns, Ducati Makes Progress, Yamaha's Small Steps With The Rear

And so the season ends for WorldSBK. The weather finally behaved at Jerez, and the four WorldSBK teams and three WorldSSP teams got a full day of testing in at Jerez. Or rather, nearly a full day of testing: the track opened at 10am, but the riders didn't go out for about 45 minutes, as cold track temperatures made it a perilous undertaking in those early minutes. But the sun soon did its work, heated the asphalt, and away they went.

Heating the asphalt meant there was grip, but the surface is still in a bad way in several corners. Turns 1, 2, 6, and 8 are the worst, according to the riders. One seasoned rider spotter pointed out just how gracefully Jonathan Rea was riding around the holes in the tarmac, and still producing a really fast time. But it hadn't been as easy as Rea made it look.

"It’s wearing ruts in the short corners where everyone is using the same line and putting the power down, or pushing the front in it," Rea said on Tuesday night. "It’s lifting the asphalt up. It’s treacherous if you run over that. That’s the common racing line for track day users or normal racers. If you’re on the limit or really sharp you can stay just inside that, like pretty much on the white line. But even that, you compromise your line, especially in corner one, two, six… So the track’s in really bad condition so they’re doing right to resurface it."

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2018 Jerez WorldSBK Test Tuesday Times: Rea Beats Lowes, Haslam Improves

Jonathan Rea has topped the timesheets at the two-day test at Jerez, the Kawasaki Racing Team rider nearly two thirds of a second faster than the rest of the field. Alex Lowes ended the day second on the Pata Yamaha, while Leon Haslam made a big step forward to set the third fastest time, a second behind his teammate.

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2018 Jerez WorldSBK Test Tuesday 2:30pm Times: Rea Quickest, Lowes Leads Bautista

A dry night meant the WorldSBK riders got underway much earlier on Tuesday, the riders taking to the track some time around 10:30am under sunny skies if chilly temperatures. The work from yesterday continues, the Yamahas, Ducatis, and Kawasakis circulating in preparation of the 2019 season. 

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2018 Jerez WorldSBK Test Monday Notes: Ducati's V4, Yamaha's Need For Speed, And Kawasaki As Fast As Ever

Three factories and eight WorldSBK riders turned up at Jerez on Monday, Ducati bringing their brand new Panigale V4R, but at the end, Jonathan Rea was fastest. Plus ça change.

All eyes were on the Ducati garage, and Alvaro Bautista's first day on the Panigale V4R. "First day at school" was how the Spaniard characterized it, taking some time to adapt to the bike. It was quite a switch from the Desmosedici he had been riding in MotoGP, the bike having a lot less power. But the V4 engine still has plenty, rival teams complaining that the Ducati was 10km/h faster than the others at the Aragon test. Here, the difference was less, but the Panigale was still clearly quicker than the rivals. 

The bike reminded him more of a 250, Bautista said, needing corner speed to get more out of it. Aruba.it Ducati teammate Chaz Davies joked that it might have reminded Bautista of his 250, but that bike was very different to the 250 Davies rode when he was in the class. But overall, Bautista's adaptation went well, the Spaniard trying two qualifying tires as it was the first time he had had a chance to ride qualifiers. He needed one set to figure out the potential of the tires, and a second set to attempt to set a time on the tires. His time was good enough for second place, three tenths behind Jonathan Rea on the Kawasaki, and a couple of tenths ahead of his teammate Chaz Davies.

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2018 Jerez WorldSBK Test Monday Times: Rea Leads But Ducatis Close

Jonathan Rea finished the first day of testing for the WorldSBK riders on top of the timesheets, the 2019 Kawasaki ZX-10R proving to be as fast as ever with the Northern Irishman aboard. Alvaro Bautista adapted to the Pirelli tires and WorldSBK Ducati Panigale V4 quickly setting the second fastest time three tenths behind Rea, and a quarter of a second ahead of his Aruba.it Ducati teammate Chaz Davies. Alex Lowes was the fastest Yamaha in fourth.

Times:

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2018 Jerez WorldSBK Test Monday 3pm Times: Rea Fastest As Bautista Makes WorldSBK Debut

Another day, another test at the Jerez circuit, this time with the WorldSBK riders. The Yamahas, Kawasakis, and Ducatis are at Jerez on their second test of the season, after kicking off at Aragon. It was another late start due to overnight rain, but the weather has been significantly better over the course of the day, and the track has been busy since it dried out enough to get some use.

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Eugene Laverty To Race A Ducati Panigale V4R With Team GoEleven In 2019

There have been some major shake ups on the WorldSBK grid for 2019, leaving some big-name riders without a ride. Today, one of those big names found a home. The Go Eleven Team announced they had signed Eugene Laverty to race a Ducati Panigale V4R in the WorldSBK championship for the 2019 season.

That Laverty should return to a Ducati is hardly a surprise. The Irishman has maintained close links to the Italian factory, and has always had a good relationship with Ducati Corse boss Gigi Dall'Igna. Laverty had been linked to other teams considering running Ducatis before finally signing with Go Eleven.

Laverty's arrival means the loss of Ramon Ramos, who has to make way for the Irishman. But the switch from Kawasaki and the promise of support from Ducati, coupled with Laverty's proven potential as a WorldSBK race winner made it an easy choice. 

Laverty's signing sees one big name return to the grid, but others remain without a seat. Xavi Fores found a seat in the British BSB Superbike championship, but Jordi Torres and Loris Baz remain unsigned. More announcements are expected in the coming weeks, as the WorldSBK teams finalize their plans.

Below is the press release from the Go Eleven team:


Go Eleven with Eugene Laverty and Ducati in the World SBK!

With great enthusiasm Go Eleven announces the partnership with Ducati Corse and Eugene Laverty for the 2019 World Superbike Championship!

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Aragon WorldSBK Test: Kawasaki's Rea Fastest As Ducati Panigale V4R Debuts

A new era dawned for Ducati at the Motorland Aragon circuit on Wednesday, as the Panigale V4R took to the track for the first time in the hands of the riders who will be racing it. Chaz Davies of the factory-backed Aruba.it Ducati team and Michael Ruben Rinaldi of Barni Racing put the first serious laps on the bike after Michele Pirro has brought it to this point during testing. 

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