The WorldSBK Championship is back in action after a very long summer break, which means that Superbike Steve is back as well, giving us the low-down on what happened in Portimão, Portugal.
Step aside Marco Melandri, because Alvaro Bautista just stole your seat in the factory Ducati World Superbike team. Announcing his signing today at the British GP, the Aruba.it Racing – Ducati team will have Bautista within its ranks for the year.
Additionally, Chaz Davies has signed up again to be on the Ducati Corse squad, which shouldn’t come as a surprise to anyone in the paddock.
Both Davies and Bautista will ride on the new Ducati Panigale V4 superbike, which will make its first proper racing debut in the 1,000cc format next year.
The street model for this machine has yet to be seen, though we have caught glimpses of the test mule for the race bike making laps around various circuits – and it has shown astonishing speed in the process.
More bad news from the World Superbike paddock, as Chaz Davies joins Leon Camier in the list of riders who have injured themselves during the two-month summer break
Davies broke the collarbone in his right shoulder during a training incident. As such, Davies will miss the Race of Champions at World Ducati Week 2018, but he should be ready for racing action when WorldSBK convenes in Portugal for the official WorldSBK test in August, and later in September for the Portuguese round.
It is not clear at this time if Davies will undergo surgery to plate the collarbone fracture, or if he will let the fracture mend on its own. Either way, the injury should not prevent the factory Ducati rider from performing his WorldSBK duties.
Episode 76 of the Paddock Pass Podcast is out, and in it we mix things up. Recorded at the Laguna Seca WorldSBK round, on the mics are Steve English and Jensen Beeler, and the duo covers the World Superbike Championship season thus far.
The show is the first part of a two-part series look at the WorldSBK paddock, which is currently on a two-month summer break.
Starting with the opening round at Phillip Island, we look at what has happened thus far in production racing. We then move to the WorldSBK silly season, as the rider market for next season is just starting to get interesting.
Lastly, we make some predictions for the rest of the season, and take some quick looks at what is to come for the 2019 season in terms of riders, teams, and machinery.
All in all, we think you will enjoy the show. It is packed with behind-the-scenes info on the World Superbike Championship, and insights from teams and riders in the paddock.
As always, be sure to follow the Paddock Pass Podcast on Facebook, Twitter and subscribe to the show on iTunes and SoundCloud – we even have an RSS feed for you. If you like the show, we would really appreciate you giving it a review on iTunes. Thanks for listening!
Laguna Seca is one of the world’s most famous race tracks, and it could play host to a memorable race this weekend.
Yamaha is on a roll, Kawasaki is in the midst of what could become a difficult break-up, and Ducati is looking to recapture lost form at a venue of past glories.
The rolling hills of Brno have produced one of the most iconic circuits on the MotoGP and WorldSBK calendar, and this 5km circuit has been the home of some classic races. What goes into a fast lap though is a lot of work on your bike settings and not forcing the issue.
Max Biaggi and Marco Melandri, two former 250GP champions, have been hugely successful at the Czech track, and it’s no coincidence that both riders were schooled riding bikes that needed high corner speed.
Former MotoGP rider Michael Laverty is in Brno this weekend, and he sat down with us to talk about what goes into finding speed at the track, and what he’s seen from watching trackside on Friday.
Round seven of the 2018 WorldSBK season will see the paddock head to Brno in the Czech Republic.
The fast and flowing circuit is a firm favorite with MotoGP riders and fans, and is sure to be well received by the Superbike riders when they return to action in the hills and valleys for the first time since 2011.
That season saw Marco Melandri do the double for Yamaha, but will that past form materialize this weekend?
The Italian round of the WorldSBK season marks the end of the opening third of the season, but it’s hard to see how it marks the end of Chaz Davies’ dominance at the Imola circuit.
The Welshman has been a wizard around the technical circuit in recent years, and been unbeatable. Having fallen 30 points adrift of Jonathan Rea in the standings, he will know that this weekend it is crucial to chip into the Northern Irishman’s title lead.
They say that the more things change, the more they stay the same. Chaz Davies will certainly be hoping that this isn’t the case.
The Welshman has had a turbulent start to the 2018 World Superbike season, but after four rounds he finds himself closer to Jonathan Rea in the standings than any recent season.
Davies has been able to win twice already this season, in Buriram and Aragon, and sits 30 points behind Rea. After four rounds he’ll have every reason to feel that this year he could finally be in a position to mount a season long title assault.
A tire issue at Assen robbed him of pace in Race 2, but he has proven again that he, and Ducati, are the only realistic opposition to Rea’s quest for a fourth title.
Making predictions for races in WorldSBK 2018 can be a fool’s errand. The form book has been thrown out the window on a couple of occasions, and at the Assen TT Circuit that was certainly the case once again.
The opening three rounds of WorldSBK have shown that the new regulations have helped close the field and improve the racing, but also that Kawasaki and Ducati are still the class of the field.
The green and red bikes are unbeaten through six races, but Aragon showed that the balance of power could shift from one circuit to another.