The FIM today released the provisional 2018 WorldSBK version. Just as last year, the schedule contains thirteen rounds, spread out from February to late October. Two circuits visited in 2017 are out, Jerez and the Lausitzring, while Brno makes a return to the WorldSBK schedule, and a brand new circuit in the west of Argentina, near the border with Chile.
The schedule starts as ever at Phillip Island in Australia on 25th February, with the WorldSBK and WorldSSP classes competing. As is traditional, the race is preceded a couple of days earlier by a two-day official test. The start of the series is once again rather fragmented, however, as WorldSBK fans will have to wait four weeks for the second round of the series at the Chang International Circuit in Buriram, Thailand.
The series then heads to Europe, with a back-to-back weekend at Aragon and then Assen. At Aragon, the series is joined by the WorldSSP300 and Superstock 1000 series. The Assen round is the first clash of the year, running on the same weekend as the Austin round of MotoGP at the Circuit of the Americas, but as they are running in different time zones, the races themselves will not clash.
The spring and summer follows a familiar pattern, with visits to Imola and Donington Park, before heading to Brno, the first time the series has raced there since 2012. From Brno, the WorldSBK class heads to Laguna Seca for its traditional weekend together with the MotoAmerica weekend, before coming back for the final race before the summer break at Misano.
The summer break this year is a yawning expanse of 10 weeks, before the paddock reconvenes in Portugal for the round at Portimao. The gap is a result of the loss of the German round and the addition of Brno: with the Czech round of MotoGP in August, it is feared that not enough fans would turn up to a WorldSBK round held there in the same month.
After Brno, the series heads to the traditional last European round at Magny-Cours, before heading overseas again. The first trip is to the brand new El Villicum circuit currently being built just outside San Juan, in the west of Argentina. The circuit is not far from the border with Chile, and around 500km from the Chilean capital, Santiago. The circuit is yet to be homologated, as it has not seen world championship racing before, but an inspection by the FIM will take place in the coming months.
The final round of the 2018 WorldSBK season takes place in Qatar, as always, a privilege for which the Losail Circuit pays handsomely. The Qatar round is the second clash with the MotoGP series, but once again, as MotoGP is racing in a completely different timezone at Phillip Island that weekend, there is no clash in race times.
The two circuits missing from the 2018 calendar are Lausitzring and Jerez. The absence of the Lausitzring is easily explained: the circuit is to be transformed into an automotive test facility by the circuit owners DEKRA. Finding an alternative home for a German round was difficult, with few spectators making the trip to the Nurburgring, where the race was previously held. The loss of Jerez from the calendar is simply down to poor attendance. Crowds at the Spanish circuit were simply too small to make it viable, and Jerez plays host to plenty of other events throughout the season.
Below is the press release from the FIM with the provisional calendar:
MOTUL FIM Superbike World Championship
FIM Supersport and Supersport 300 World Championships
European Superstock 1000 Championship
2018 provisional calendar, 2 November
|23-25 February||AUS||Phillip Island Grand Prix Circuit||X||X|
|23-25 March||THA||Chang International Circuit||X||X|
|13-15 April||ESP||MotorLand Aragón||X||X||X||X|
|20 -22 April||NED||TT Circuit Assen||X||X||X||X|
|11-13 May||ITA||Autodromo Internazionale Enzo e Dino Ferrari di Imola||X||X||X||X|
|25-27 May||GBR||Donington Park||X||X||X||X|
|8-10 June||CZE||Automotodrom Brno||X||X||X||X|
|22-24 June||USA||Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca||X|
|6-8 July||ITA||Misano World Circuit “Marco Simoncelli”||X||X||X||X|
|14-16 September||POR||Autódromo Internacional do Algarve||X||X||X||X|
|28-30 September||FRA||Circuit de Nevers Magny-Cours||X||X||X||X|
|12–14 October||ARG*||El Villicum||X||X|
|25-27 October||QAT||Losail International Circuit||X||X|
*(STH) Subject to homologation
2018 OFFICIAL TESTS
- 19-20 February, Australia, Phillip Island Grand Prix Circuit (WorldSBK & WorldSSP)
- 23-24 August, Portugal, Autódromo Internacional do Algarve (WorldSBK)