In the latest episode of the Paddock Pass Podcast, Jensen Beeler, Steve English, and David Emmett take a deep dive into the WorldSBK championship. We take a look back at last season, and use that, and the results of the Jerez WorldSBK test, to preview the 2019 season, leading to a debate on what WorldSBK should be, and the difficulties of managing a racing series for motorcycles which are primarily to be sold for use on the road.
We start off with a long look at Kawasaki, and how Jonathan Rea has come to define the Kawasaki era. We analyze the reasons Rea has become such a dominant factor in the series. But we also discuss Tom Sykes, his situation, and how Sykes has handled Rea coming into the team.
We have a long discussion about the Ducati Panigale V4R, and how it is meant to challenge for the WorldSBK crown. We look back at Chaz Davies' and Marco Melandri's 2018 season, ponder Melandri's firing, and what it means for Ducati's participation in the series.
We talk about Yamaha, and Alex Lowes' strong words on just what Yamaha needs to win in WorldSBK. We compare and contrast the Yamaha and Honda WorldSBK efforts, the difference in factory commitment and the difficulties of competing in a championship on a bike which has not had any significant updates for several years, while new bikes come in and move the class on.
This leads us to a philosophical discussion of what exactly the point is of the WorldSBK series. How do you do performance balancing, and can it be set out in a simple set of rules for such very different bikes? What role does electronics play, and is a single ECU a solution, or would it make things more difficult?
The show also includes a few snippets of interviews with riders, including Leon Haslam, and Alex Lowes. The full-length interviews are available to Paddock Pass Podcast patrons, and accessible through our Patreon page.
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