The 2018 World Superbike championship is upon us and for once, I am very, very excited about it. If you go back watch the shows from last season, you may have seen that I was maybe a bit too harsh on World Superbikes; yes, the crowd numbers could be better and so could the racing but I seriously believe that both of those things will improve immensely in 2018.
First and foremost, rules and regulations have changed. In simple terms, every team will be able to access the ‘factory’ parts for their machine, not giving the ‘factory’ supported teams a huge advantage and not hindering the ‘independent’ teams as much either. The bikes also start with just 3.3% more revs than a standard road-go version. At rounds 3, 6 and 9, there will be alterations so that, depending on a teams performance, they can bring the pack closer together. Boring information to consume? Yes. Crucial information to consume? Absolutely!
2018 sees one new circuit and one returning circuit on the calendar, with the Jerez meeting banished (for now). Brno in the Czech Republic returns after a few seasons away, whilst Argentina will host it’s and South America’s first WSBK event, at the El Vilicum circuit, near the Chilean border. The Argentine circuit is under construction but is expected to be ready for when the championship arrives. Sadly for those of us who remember WSBK in it’s ‘Golden Era’, still no Kyalami, Monza or Brands Hatch and despite the success of the Japanese manufacturers, still no Japanese round.
Like most years, there are rookies in World Superbikes but for the first time in a long time, those rookies are actually a force to be reckoned with. Yonny Hernandez steps over from the Grand Prix paddock, with Toprak Razgatlioglu rising through the WSBK paddock and into the Superbike class. PJ Jacobsen is right in the mix too, as is fellow American and Honda rider, Jake Gagne. Loris Baz is back on a Superbike and ready to mix things up at the front.
Besides those things, there are some rumoured changes but nothing confirmed – such as proposed three-race weekends at Donington Park and Portimao, adding to the spectacle for the fans. Like I say, that is yet to be confirmed and be sure to keep your eyes on our website if it does become confirmed.
Kawasaki, Ducati and Yamaha’s factory line-up remains the same for 2018, whilst Red Bull Honda bring in Leon Camier from MV Agusta and Jake Gagne from MotoAmerica. Jordi Torres replaces Camier and replacing Torres at Althea BMW is Loris Baz. Aprilia remain unchanged and if the first day of action is anything to go by, they may well be more of a threat than any of us could’ve imagined.
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