“When the music stops you need to grab a seat,” is a kids game, but in the grown-up business of the paddock, it is still just as relevant as if you were at a birthday party.
Unfortunately for Eugene Laverty, he’s been left as one of the last riders chasing a seat for 2019, and with Marco Melandri, Loris Baz, Jordi Torres, and Xavi Fores all also running in circles, the clock is ticking until the music stops for good.
Having thought that he’d be sticking with Shaun Muir Racing for next year, as the team switches to BMW machinery, the Irishman now finds himself on the outside looking in. From feeling secure that he would have a good ride for 2019, he suddenly finds himself staring at limited opportunities.
The Circuit San Juan Villicum surprised everyone in the WorldSBK paddock this past weekend. With the Andes Mountain range offering one of the most picturesque backgrounds in all of racing, this brand new facility has instantly offered a unique circuit to the championship.
The 2.6-mile circuit has received positive feedback from the riders and teams, and Milwaukee Aprilia’s Eugene Laverty offered us his perspective of the track.
The final European round of the WorldSBK season sees Magny-Cours play host to Jonathan Rea’s first attempt to make history by winning a fourth consecutive championship.
The Northern Irishman is on the cusp of history, and he clinched the title here 12 months ago.
Jonathan Rea may have had a third consecutive double at the Portuguese round of WorldSBK, but that’s not to say there wasn’t plenty of action and intrigue as WorldSBK resumed following the summer break.
Portimão is one of the most exciting laps of the year for a WorldSBK rider. The Portuguese circuit is used extensively for winter testing, and last month’s official test also offered the majority of the field a chance to fine tune their settings for their return to action.
The circuit, nestled in the hills of the Algarve, is challenging for riders. There’s a bit of everything here, and getting your eye in and getting the most from the circuit takes time.
“Portimao is my favourite track in the world,” said an enthusiastic Eugene Laverty. “It’s something unique! I’ve done so many laps around this place over the years that I know this place like the back of my hand. At some tracks, you need the bike to work in a certain way to be fast because the rider is limited in what they can do – this place is the opposite!”
Episode 81 of the Paddock Pass Podcast is out, and in it we see Steve English and Jensen Beeler on the mics, as they talk a little bit more World Superbike action, before the season returns from its nearly two-month long summer break.
In the show, the boys talk about some of the big stories going on in the World Superbike Championship right now, and we chased down a number of riders to get their perspective, while at the Laguna Seca round.
As such, the show includes interviews with Tom Sykes, Alex Lowes, Eugene Laverty, Jake Gagne, and Jonathan Rea. The topics cover things like the rider silly season, the new rules for the year and how they’ve affected the race results, and how to improve “the show” in WorldSBK.
Of course the show is full of behind-the-scenes insights and analysis, which should be a welcomed resource for both seasoned World Superbike followers, and those who have missed many of the season’s races.
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!
The US Round of the 2018 WorldSBK season highlighted, once again, the importance of hard work in motorcycle racing.
Last year, it was hard to imagine Milwaukee Aprilia standing on the podium on merit; on Sunday Eugene Laverty made his long-awaited return to the rostrum.
We have seen in recent rounds Yamaha win three races with the R1, but last weekend’s races arguably did more to prove the potential of the bike.
The return of WorldSBK to the Czech Republic proved to be a race weekend to remember. Tensions between Jonathan Rea and Tom Sykes overflowed, Alex Lowes delivered on his long-held promise, and we saw flashes of brilliance from else on the World Superbike grid.
The opening WorldSBK round of the year showed that the regulations have helped to shake up the order but the real test will be in the coming rounds.
Buriram, host of the Thai Round of WorldSBK, has been a Kawasaki stomping ground in recent years, and while the green machines will be favorites once again, the effect of the changes could see their wings clipped.
For the 2018 WorldSBK season, we are changing up our coverage format a little bit from last year, in order to provide more useful content for our racing fans.
First up, we are pleased to have Steve English providing coverage from the World Superbike paddock. Regular Asphalt & Rubber readers will recognize Steve’s name from a number of stories here on A&R, and he is also a regular host of our Paddock Pass Podcast.
With his day job being the voice of WorldSBK on the commentary feed, Steve’s expert insight will provide for us a preview of each WorldSBK round, as well as a debrief at the end of each race weekend, which will highlight the major takeaways from the racing action.
Additionally for our A&R Pro readers, Steve will be providing us with added racing analysis, as well as interviews with the WorldSBK riders, team members, and paddock fixtures, which you won’t want to miss. -JB
With that out of the way, let’s get to the opening round of the 2018 WorldSBK season, which is now in the books and certainly provided us with plenty of excitement and plenty to talk about.