The Monza round of World Superbikes has been canceled. The rumors that Monza would be taken off the calendar have been circulating since early February, but the cancellation was only officially confirmed today. Unofficially, the circuit has known longer: last week, the circuit replied to an email from a MotoMatters.com reader that the race would not be going ahead, and he would not be able to purchase tickets for the event on 22nd-24th July.
The reason the circuit has lost the WSBK round is because the track could not obtain FIM homolgation in time. Discussion is ongoing over exactly how the circuit needs to change to allow motorcycles to race there safely, but a satisfactory solution is yet to be agreed upon. In their statement, Dorna made it clear that they had hoped that some agreement could be reached, and that Monza could once again make its return to the WSBK calendar.
Negotiations are currently underway to find a replacement. Originally, Vallelunga, near Rome, had an agreement with WorldSBK to act as a back up venue. That circuit also has safety issues which need to be addressed, and the relatively short notice leaves little time for the track to make the required changes, especially not given the busy schedule most race tracks have. The Dorna press release also mentions scheduling difficulties: Vallelunga is already booked for a motorcycle track event on the weekend scheduled for Monza, making a straight swap impossible.
It now looks as if World Superbikes could head to Estoril as a replacement round. Talks continue with the circuit over a date, with July and September being mentioned as the most likely time. The track's proximity to Lisbon would make it a more popular draw than Portimao, which was a spectacular track set in a location with little motorcycling interest. Estoril is a little better situated, though attendance for MotoGP rounds at the track was also sparse.
Below is the press release from Dorna on the schedule change:
2016 Calendar Update
The FIM and DWO would like to announce the cancellation of the 2016 WorldSBK Italian Round that was to be held at the Autodromo Nazionale Monza during the weekend of the 22nd – 24th July.
Regarding the changes needed to bring the WorldSBK paddock back to Monza, all the bodies involved have requested the FIM and DWO for the time required in order to further analyze the project, with a view to confirming its feasibility in the near future.
DWO would further like to announce that the substitute circuit contract with Vallelunga will not be activated, due to scheduling difficulties and the required modifications to the venue that would enable Vallelunga to host a Round of WorldSBK.
At this time, a replacement venue for this Italian Round of the Championship is still being evaluated. Confirmation of both the location and date of the replacement will be provided before the 1st of May, to enable final confirmation of the 2016 WorldSBK Calendar.