The first outlines of the 2010 World Superbike calendar are starting to emerge, and so far, it bears a remarkable resemblance to this year's schedule. Though nothing has been announced officially by the FIM and InFront Motor Sports, Motorcycle News' Michael Guy is reporting that the biggest change to the calendar will be the dropping of the Qatar round of World Superbikes and moving the Kyalami round up to take its place, to limit the expense of the flyaway rounds.
According to MCN, the season is due to kick off at Phillip Island on February 28th, with all the teams due to fly out early for testing at the glorious Australian circuit. From there, the WSBK circus will fly to South Africa to race at Kyalami, just outside of Johannesburg, before heading back to Europe for the rest of season, with one more trip overseas to Miller Motorsports Park in Utah. The series will visit Italy three times and Spain once, and hitting the UK at Donington - if the track is ready, of course.
The loss of Qatar is hardly a surprise, with attendance being at a minimum and the event not attracting the kind of media interest that the MotoGP night race freak show tends to generate. The World Superbike event is hampered by the fact that the MotoGP race is just a month after World Superbikes, making potential spectators choose between the two. Attendees who have been to both say that the atmosphere at the World Superbike race is better, possibly due to the night race being such an alienating experience, but the local economy - admittedly consisting mainly of expats with a love of bike racing - cannot bear two events in such close proximity. With the QMMF prepared to foot the bill for the MotoGP extravaganza, there was never any doubt as to which event would lose out.
With Qatar gone, the number of World Superbike rounds has now been cut from 14 to 13, but with the World Superbike weekends being double headers, that still leaves the riders to contest 26 races for the season. An official announcement on the World Superbike calendar is likely to come at the end of the month, when the series gathers again at Imola.