The Chang International Circuit is an unknown for everyone in World Superbikes this weekend. A new track in a new country represents many challenges for the teams and the riders, as they try to figure the fastest way around it. It is an unknown for fans, too, most of them only having seen the track layout map on the World Superbike website.
Fortunately, racing has already taken place at the Chang circuit. The Asian Road Racing Championship held a round at the track in November 2014, which included two races from the Supersport 600 class. On its Youtube channel, it also has the full races from every round of the series, including the races at Chang.
Watching the first race at the track gives a good sense of the layout, and how close the racing might be. The circuit has several longish straights, with a couple of tight corners connecting them, but the second half of the track is more flowing, with several faster corners. There are a number of spots around the track that look good for overtaking, including Turn 1, the hairpin at Turn 3, and the final corner, Turn 12. Both ARRC 600 races ended quite close, with three riders battling for 2nd in the first race, and three more riders fighting for the win all race long in the second race.
The ARRC series also gives an indication of what lap times to expect. Pole was set by Ratthopong Wilairot (whether Ratthopong is related to Ratthapark is something we were unable to find out), who posted a lap of 1:40.460. The World Supersport riders should be able to get under the 1:40 mark, while the World Superbike riders should be able to take a couple of seconds or more off that time.
If you have 40 minutes to spare, and are interested to see what the Chang International Circuit looks like from a racing perspective, here's the first ARRC Supersport 600 race: