The FIM today released the provisional 2016 calendar for the World Superbike championship. There is good news and bad news in the calendar, with Portimao disappearing from the calendar, but Monza making a welcome return. World Superbikes will also be returning to Germany, with the entire circus turning up to the Lausitzring, just north of Dresden. The best news is that there are no direct clashes with MotoGP, but WSBK will be running on the same date as F1 for nine rounds, though only the Donington and Monza rounds happen in the same timezone. Given the different time schedules for F1 and WSBK, bike racing fans should not have to miss any of the action.
The Lausitzring was not the only option considered when WSBK looked at returning to Germany. The series was also in talks with the Sachsenring, as the MotoGP round is immensely popular there. In the end, Lausitz was chosen, WSBK having raced there previously from 2005 to 2007.
The calendar still has a couple of question marks over it. The Jerez round is still marked as subject to contract, its future still remaining uncertain. Attendance was very poor at both Jerez and Portimao, and organizers may have felt that having two rounds in relatively close proximity was reducing attendance for both. The loss of Portimao will be mourned, as it is a spectacular track in a stunning setting close to the Algarve coast, a popular vacation destination. However, the circuit could never tempt the tourists away from the beach and out to the track.
The Monza round is also still marked as being subject to homologation. The circuit is currently studying proposals to make the track safer and especially alter the first chicane without detracting from the character of the track.
The calendar also reveals an imminent change to the format of the racing. Each of the events is marked as being spread over two days. What this means is that WSBK will now run their races on Saturday and Sunday, with WSBK race one on Saturday, and race two on Sunday. That is a format which had been used by the AMA and DMG, and which WSBK will hope will draw more fans in on the Saturday.
The biggest concern is that once again, the series has a very long summer break. The action stops after Monza on 24th July for nearly eight weeks, the WSBK riders taking to the track again at the Lausitzring on the 17th and 18th September.
Below is the official calendar released by the FIM:
MOTUL FIM Superbike & Supersport World Championships
FIM Superstock 1000 cc Cup
2016 provisional calendar, 19 November
|27-28 February||Australia||Phillip Island Grand Prix Circuit||X||X|
|12-13 March||Thailand||Chang International Circuit||X||X|
|2-3 April||Spain||MotorLand Aragón||X||X||X|
|16-17 April||Netherlands||TT Circuit Assen||X||X||X|
|30-1 May||Italy||Autodromo Int. Enzo e Dino Ferrari di Imola||X||X||X|
|14 -15 May||Malaysia||Sepang International Circuit||X||X|
|28-29 May||United Kingdom||Donington Park||X||X||X|
|18-19 June||Italy||Misano World Circuit ‘Marco Simoncelli’||X||X||X|
|9-10 July||USA||Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca||X|
|23-24 July||Italy *||Autodromo Nazionale di Monza||X||X||X|
|1-2 October||France||Circuit de Nevers Magny-Cours||X||X||X|
|15-16 October||Spain **||Circuito de Jerez||X||X||X|
|29-30 October||Qatar||Losail International Circuit||X||X|
*(STH) Subject to homologation
**(STC) Subject to contract
(N.B Autodromo Vallelunga Circuit will act as a ́reserve ́)