World Superbikes needs spicing up; that is something that pretty much every fan can agree on.
Apparently the FIM also agreed, and they have decided to do something about it. It has taken a few hours to go through the revised rules and to get our collectives head around them but one thing that we have all agreed upon is that there is only one word that can accurately describe them; crazy. They are absolutely crazy.
So let’s start off with the easier rules to ease you into the warped madness that will be World Superbikes in 2017.
- There will now be two allocated slots for wildcards per round, and the deadline for a team to submit their wildcard is 90 days before the event.
- There will be a new time schedule to accommodate the new Supersport 300 class.
Easy? You got it.
- Riders will now not be allowed to use scooters for track familiarisation when they arrive at the circuit. They will only be able to walk the track or use a push bike.
We’re getting there…
- The Supersport 600 class will now openly welcome the introduction of flag to flag races – they will be able to swap bikes if the weather conditions change mid-race.
Really simple, we see this in a lot of classes.
- And, the FIM Superstock 1000 Cup will be renamed the European Superstock 1000 Championship.
It’s not a big difference, but they’ve decided to make the change anyway.
I hope you’re all still with us, because this is where it gets really confusing.
As of 2017, the race two grid will be based on the results from race one on Saturday, instead of basing them off the Superpole session like this season.
What this means is that Superpole now only applies to those who finished 10th or lower in the first race. The top three from race one will be moved back to row three, and first and third will reverse their positions.
For example, if Jonathan Rea finishes in 1st place for race one, he will start from 9th on the grid in race two. If Tom Sykes finishes in 2nd during race one, he will start from 8th and if Chaz Davies finishes 3rd in race one, he will start from 7th.
For the record, this is not a prediction on grid positions for next year (although judging by this year, it’s pretty accurate).
But the confusion doesn’t end there. Whoever finishes race one in 4th, 5th and 6th position will be promoted to the front row of the grid.
Another example: If Michael van der Mark finishes the race in 4th, he will start race two in pole position. 5th will start from 2nd, and 6th will start from 3rd.
Are you still here?
And of course, whoever finishes in 7th, 8th and 9th position will begin race two from the second row. 7th in the first race will start from 4th, 8th will start from 5th and 9th will start from 6th.
Can’t get your head around the new Race 2 Grid for 2017? 👀
— WorldSBK (@WorldSBK) December 7, 2016
So let’s do as WSBK say and just take a moment to get our heads around this…
It’s understandable as to why they would want to change up the format, World Superbikes desperately needs shaking up and they want to make it more entertaining for fans to watch. But was this really the way to go about it? Apart from the fact that it’s confusing, it also seems pointless.
Going by the season we have just witnessed, the top three are the championship contenders. So is pushing them back to the third row for race two putting them at a disadvantage? But these rules haven’t been put in place to punish the top riders, they’re just to help give others a chance. But they do say that the cream always rises to the top…
One rider who has been very vocal about the changes is Aruba.it Ducati’s Chaz Davies, he took to Twitter this morning to give his opinion and answer questions.
“I don’t mind the new format…”, he said, “growing up kart racing where the fast guys started at the back. I thrive on that s**t! It penalises the fastest guys, but they will come to the front anyway. And you guys at home will get a better show for it.”
When he was asked why they couldn’t have done a simple reverse grid for the top 9, he said, “The guys that finish 4/5/6 will give a better race to the top 3 riders than 7/8/9. So put them at the front to make a better show of it”.
It’s glaringly obvious that Davies thinks it’s all about the entertainment value for the fans and to an extent that is true.
WSBK have been selling fewer and fewer tickets to events each season, which is why they introduced race one being held on a Saturday instead of a Sunday.
But this also seems to be about giving those riders that can’t usually catch up to the top three a chance to fight for a win.
Basically, feelings about this rejig are still mixed. And we don’t think we’ll be able to come to a conclusion until we see it in action next year.
Now go and rest your heads and thank you for staying with us during such a confusing time.