The World Superbike schedule underwent a serious shakeup at the start of the 2009 season. The introduction of the new Superpole format had already meant that part of Saturday had been changed, but further cuts, including the scrapping of all on-track activity on Friday morning, were introduced as part of the cost-cutting measures introduced to help WSBK face up to the financial crisis.
Now that the situation has calmed down a little, that schedule has once again been revised. The changes are fairly small, consisting mostly of slight adjustments to the timing of events. The biggest change for the World Superbike class is that the timing of Superpole has been changed. Instead of three 12 minute sessions, the sessions will be different lengths. Superpole 1 will be 14 minutes, Superpole 2 will be 12 minutes and Superpole 3 will be just 10 minutes long. In addition, there will be a 25 minute break between the end of Free Practice 2 and Superpole, instead of the current 15 minutes.
This change had been in consultation between the teams and what the Infront Motor Sports press release terms "other interested parties," presumably meaning circuit management and TV companies. It certainly makes a lot of sense from most angles, as the numbers of riders on the track drops with each Superpole session, from 20 to 16 to 8, and therefore less time is needed on track for everyone to get a clear run at a lap. The final session of Superpole often saw several moments with virtually no action on track, with everyone having already used both qualifying tires. The only concern for the teams will be crashes in the final session, as there will be very little time to get back on a bike and ride it to the pits to swap on to the spare bike.
The biggest change of the weekend is the return of a second qualifying session for the World Supersport class. This was the major victim in the earlier cost-cutting measures, but had very few supporters among the teams. World Supersport now sees its second session reinstated, with QP1 making a return on Friday afternoon at 5pm, while QP2 stays on Saturday at 12pm. The World Supersport race will now also start 5 minutes earlier on Sunday, at 1:30pm, in response to requests by TV companies.
One change that won't affect the schedule is the addition of an extra intermediate timing point. In 2009, the track was divided up into three sections, the addition of the extra timing point will mean the track is divided up into four sections, making it a little easier for audiences watching intermediate timing to compare times during qualifying, for example.
At events where the Superstock 1000 and 600 events are also run, the programs will also be slightly modified. There will be an extra session of practice for the Superstock 1000 class on Friday, and the Superstock 600 race has been moved from Sunday to Saturday.