At the same time as they announced the provisional entry lists for World Superbike and World Supersport, the FIM also released a revised calendar for the series. The revisions consist of a single change: The British round at Donington has been moved to Silverstone.
The move is the final episode in a long saga, both tragic and farcical in equal measure. It started with the ambitious plans of altering the Donington Park circuit to allow the return of Formula One, and ended with the bankruptcy of DVLL, handing the lease and a torn-up track unsuitable for racing back to the circuit's owners, the Wheatcroft family. It also sees Silverstone completely replace Donington as the main venue for world-class motorcycle racing.
The contrasts between the plans of the two circuits are key to their outcomes. DVLL, the company that ran Donington Park, had a huge and ambitious plan to build a new track and new world class facilities, at a cost of over 130 million pounds. Silverstone, on the other hand, made a few strategic changes to the track layout and spectator areas at an estimated cost of just 5 million. DVLL is bankrupt, and Silverstone has MotoGP, Formula One, World Superbikes and BSB. Such is the price of hubris.
Many, if not most, of the British fans had been hoping that the World Superbike series would make a return to the much-loved Brands Hatch circuit, the round which was lost from the WSBK calendar in 2009. But continuing disagreement over the sanctioning fee between Infront Motor Sports and MotorSports Vision, the company that owns Brands, prevented the series from returning to the beautiful Kent circuit.
Perhaps the most important part of the announcement was the lack of a single, yet crucial adjective: This is no longer a "provisional" calendar. Though the future is always highly flexible, it seems, especially when it comes to motorcycle racing, the World Superbike calendar looks like being just about fixed. The only doubtful event on the calendar is the penultimate round at Imola. Negotiations are still ongoing at the track, after some riders complained about safety at the circuit.
Official 2010 World Superbike Calendar
|February 28||Australia||Phillip Island||X||X|
|May 16||South Africa||Kyalami||X||X|
|May 31||United States||Salt Lake City(***)||X||X|
|June 27||San Marino||Misano||X||X||X|
|July 11||Czech Rep.||Brno||X||X||X|
(*) STC (subject to contract)
(***) Race on Monday, 31 May