Tucked away in the Friday press release from the World Superbike Commission, along with other changes to the technical and sporting regulations, was the news that only sixteen bikes would be eligible to compete in Superpole qualifying. In the 2010 season, the fastest 20 riders during the qualifying practices competed to move on to Superpole 2 and 3 to vie for the pole position for the Sunday races.
With the lower numbers of entries this past season, many if not sometimes all of the riders gained entry into the first Superpole session. This coming, 2011, season, only the sixteen fastest riders will be in the first session of Superpole, with the slowest four getting knocked out of the running for Superpole 2 (allowing the fastest twelve to move onto Superpole 2).
Then, the fastest eight from Superpole 2 will advance to take a shot for pole in Superpole 3, a Formula1-style qualifying that was implemented in WSBK less than two years ago. Rather than the single-lap format previously used by WSBK or the free-for-all in MotoGP, the multi-part qualifying format allows for drama throughout the session whilst simultaneously clearing the circuit of slower riders for the final run for pole.
Other changes from the Commission’s Friday meeting include the return of the Friday morning practice and an allowance that “a generator to power tyre warmers and air blowers on the grid.” Previously, “No batteries or other electrical supplies [were] permitted on the grid.” While other changes were apparently made to the regulations, the Commission will only deign to release them “within the next days.”