The Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya in Montmelo is to host a round of the World Superbike championship in 2020. The event is to be held from 18-20th September 2020, between the Portimao and Magny-Cours rounds of the series.
The addition of Barcelona presages a few of the changes coming in both the WorldSBK and MotoGP calendars in future years. Next year, WorldSBK loses Buriram in Thailand to MotoGP, and also looks set to lose the race at Laguna Seca in the USA. Instead, WorldSBK will head to Barcelona in September, and the German circuit of Oschersleben in August.
The loss of both Thailand and the US means a stark reduction in the number of rounds outside Europe. The WorldSBK championship now only visits Phillip Island at the start of the season, and Argentina and Qatar at the end, meaning that ten of the thirteen WorldSBK rounds will be held in Europe, with three rounds on the Iberian peninsula (Jerez, Portimao, and Barcelona) and two in Italy (Imola and Misano).
Adding more overseas rounds could prove problematic, from a cost point of view. In the past, Dorna has used WorldSBK as a test case, sending them to new tracks to try out the logistics and costs of getting bikes and riders in and out of countries and venues on time. That may happen again in the future: rumors persist that WorldSBK will be sent to Indonesia or Vietnam before MotoGP going there, to test the viability of the venue.
The addition of Barcelona to the WorldSBK calendar could also be a prelude to the Spanish track's removal from the MotoGP calendar, or at least to it rotating with other Spanish tracks when the MotoGP calendar expands. A story in the Catalan press suggests that Barcelona will lose its MotoGP round in 2021.
That would make sense if Indonesia is to join the MotoGP calendar for 2021. The current contract with MotoGP teams stipulates a maximum of 20 races a season. That contract expires at the end of 2021, at which point Dorna intends to expand the calendar to 22 races.
Dropping Barcelona for 2021 would be one way of fitting Indonesia onto the calendar. It could also serve as a backup if the Indonesian track at Mandalika on Lombok isn't ready in time to host a race. But it may also be a chance to start rotating MotoGP and WorldSBK at Spanish circuits, as a way of reducing the number of rounds held in Spain.
A 2020 calendar for WorldSBK is expected to be published soon.
The press release from WorldSBK announcing Barcelona on the calendar appears below:
Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya welcomed onto 2020 WorldSBK calendar
A new track awaits the MOTUL FIM Superbike World Championship, as the historic Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya readies for WorldSBK action
For the first time in its history, the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya will host a round of the MOTUL FIM Superbike World Championship. The agreement between the Circuit, Dorna WorldSBK Organization and the Gemocat event manager will make the Catalunya Round of WorldSBK one of the biggest events to be on the 2020 calendar and is set to be held from the 18th – 20th September.
Joan Fontserè, General Director of the Circuit of Barcelona-Catalunya has expressed his appreciation of the new event, saying: “With the inclusion of WorldSBK at the circuit, in addition to making history, the missing piece fits into our calendar of events, which will in-turn make for an exceptional 2020 season. We are very happy to be able to host the Catalunya Round of WorldSBK and we are sure that the fans will turn to this event and make this first addition a resounding success”.
Ricard Cardús, spokesman for Gemocat, added: “We are very excited about bringing the Superbike World Championship show to Catalonia for the first time. We want the weekend from September 18th to 20th to be a real party for the fan and we will organize events and activities around the event; there will be a limit of 30,000 tickets in order to offer an exclusive experience to the public. We hope that the Catalunya Round of WorldSBK will become a classic on the fans' agenda.”
Gregorio Lavilla, WorldSBK Executive director - Sporting & Organization depts: “The new addition to the 2020 WorldSBK calendar is warmly welcomed and expected in great anticipation. The circuit has seen many memorable races in various motorsport disciplines and WorldSBK cannot wait to join the list. With such a rich heritage in motorcycle racing in Spain and the region, the Catalunya WorldSBK Round promises to be a great success for all parties involved.”