The 2017 WorldSBK calendar is close to being finalized. When it was announced at the combined WorldSBK/MotoGP test in November of last year, the calendar featured thirteen rounds of racing, only twelve of which had been confirmed. The missing round, many present at the test felt, was a Jerez-shaped hole waiting to be filled. Now, MotoMatters.com has learned, the penultimate round of World Superbikes will indeed take place at Jerez.
The big issue for Jerez was whether the round would be financially viable. The circuit has struggled financially numerous times in the past, and with uncertainty over future funding, they were unwilling to commit to hosting a WorldSBK round in November last year.
The circuit has a long history of financial problems, dating back to the turn of the century and beyond. Disputes over unpaid debts to contractors over circuit improvements left the track on the verge of bankruptcy. The Jerez circuit has relied on funding from the city council and autonomous community of Andalusia to be able to host MotoGP and WorldSBK.
Back in November circuit officials stressed that while hosting WorldSBK was a priority for them, it was a commitment that they would only undertake when it was 100% viable. Last year saw an increase in ticket sales and the largest Sunday crowd since the track rejoined WorldSBK in 2013, crowd numbers up by 5% over 2015 over the entire weekend.
While no official announcement has yet been made, circuit officials did confirm to MotoMatters.com that "Jerez will once again be host to WorldSBK in 2017. Regarding dates this is something to be announced by the FIM and Dorna."
The original dates penciled in on the calendar were 13th-15th October. While nothing has been officially confirmed, MotoMatters.com has learned that those dates are likely to be pushed back a week to 20th-22nd October, creating a two-week gap between Jerez and the final round of the season in Qatar. This would also avoid a clash with the final round of the British Superbike championship.
With Jerez now close to confirming dates, the FIM and Dorna are likely to issue a full and official WorldSBK calendar soon.