Aprilia have finally confirmed that they will be providing factory backing for the Milwaukee SMR squad in WorldSBK in 2017. It had been an open secret for months that the Milwaukee team were looking to make a switch to Aprilia, and they had signed Eugene Laverty and Lorenzo Savadori to contest the championship for them. But it took a long time for the official confirmation to come through.
It was a weekend of contrasts in Germany. Four weathers in a race weekend is usually something associated with Phillip Island, but with 30°C temperatures having welcomed the WorldSBK paddock from their summer break, the heat gradually transitioned to a downpour on a cold and windy Sunday.
With Chaz Davies and Jonathan Rea claiming the spoils in the races there was little reason to think that this was a standout weekend, but in many ways the German round of WorldSBK could prove pivotal when the season concludes.
World Superbike standings after the second race in Germany:
Press releases from the World Superbike and World Supersport organizers and teams:
As the riders lined up on the grid, it started to rain. Immediately, the race start was delayed by fifteen minutes and dropped down to only twenty laps. The riders set up for a quick start procedure with one sighting lap before a reduced grid. It was declared a wet race. After that, the warmup lap was completed and riders lined up at the lights. A few hands went up and the yellow board came out declaring "START DELAYED".
As the rain continued to pour down, the bikes were pulled off the grid and the riders in the safety commission, including Rea, Hayden, Davies and Guintoli, were then summoned to a meeting. Would a race be safe?
Standings in the World Superbike championship after the first race in Germany:
Press releases after the first WorldSBK race and qualifying for the WSS class from the Lausitzring in Germany:
Lausitzring: Day 2
Nine years since the last World Superbike race at this American-style oval track with a nadgery infield, Noriyuki Haga's lap record would most certainly fall, but how quickly? The Lausitzring was completely dry in time for the first race of the weekend but the riders lined up without having done a race simulation and the rain having washed the rubber build-up off the track. All bets were off.
After an absence of ten weeks, World Superbike returns to a track that it has not visited since 2007. Jonathan Rea, quickest this morning in the damp conditions, is the rider most likely to get promoted from Superpole 1 with Davide Giugliano or Alex De Angelis most likely to join him.
A wet Lausitzring hosted the morning's untimed session and Jonathan Rea topped the table as several riders crashed out. Alex Lowes crashed halfway through and brought out the red flags while Markus Reiterberger and Nicky Hayden crashed after the restart.
Update: Alex Lowes has been confirmed fit, having suffered an elbow sprain in his FP3 crash.