Tom Sykes seized control of the World Superbike test at Phillip Island, topping the timesheets on the second day of the test with a lap just five thousandths shy of Carlos Checa's pole record around the Australian circuit. The reigning world champion set a time in the morning which nobody could get near, signalling his intention to fiercely defend his title.
Near perfect conditions at Phillip Island saw fast times being set from the beginning of the first day of testing for the World Superbike class. The morning was especially good, with nary a breath of the wind which usually blasts across the circuit, whatever the weather.
Dorna has revealed the pricing for its online video pass for the World Superbike championship. The price for a full season of coverage via the WorldSBK.com website is to cost €69.90, or around US $95. Included in the price is live access to all World Superbike races, as well as the ability to play them on demand after the race is over. There will also be access to a highlights package of each race, and rider interviews and exclusive features. There is also an archive of race and season reviews going back to 1993.
With the start of the 2014 World Superbike season less that two weeks away, teams are gearing up for their campaigns. As part of their preparations, Pata Honda team today released a video showing their progress on the way to the new season. Team boss Ronald ten Kate, World Superbike riders Jonathan Rea and Leon Haslam, and World Supersport riders Michael van der Mark and Lorenzo Zanetti all feature in the video, discussing what has changed over the winter, and what they expect of 2014. The video appears below:
While most of the world's attention was focused on the first MotoGP test of the year at Sepang, in Spain, a few of the World Superbike teams used a private test to prepare for their journey Down Under to the season opener at Phillip Island. The rain prevented testing for the first day of the test, but the second day took place under sunny skies, but with high winds and damp patches making going tricky.
The addition of the EVO category to the World Superbike class has had the hoped-for effect on the grid. From a modest entry list of 19 riders last year, the grid is up to a healthy 27 entries for 2014. The number of manufacturers has increased as well, up to 9, with MV Agusta, EBR (Erik Buell's latest venture) and Bimota all taking part, racing this year under the EVO banner. Bimota's entry is still provisional, subject to homologation of the BMW-based BB3 being approved.
The 2014 World Superbike rider line up:
World Superbikes will be easier to watch for fans around the world this year. The World Superbike series has announced that it is to make an online video pass available to fans this season, making it possible to watch WSBK races live on the WorldSBK.com website, or rewatch them at leisure. The update comes as part of revamping of the series website, bringing it closer inline to the MotoGP.com website, now that the series is firmly in Dorna's hands.