While the MotoGP paddock was busy in Austin, Texas dealing with the rain, the WorldSBK riders were contending with their own weather, as the snow halted racing activities on Saturday.

Thankfully, the Sunday brought better weather, and WorldSBK racing fans were treated to the show that the richly deserved.

Assen is perhaps one of the most revered tracks on the World Superbike Championship schedule, even after changes to the circuit removed some of its best turns.

The Cathedral always provides good racing, and this outing was no different, including a photo-finish with local hero Michael van der Mark.

Helping us relive the magic is photographer Stephen McClements, with this ample gallery of WorldSBK photos from The Netherlands. We hope you enjoy them!

For this year’s Americas GP, I made a conscious effort to get out of the confines of the media center, and to watch the on-track sessions for the MotoGP riders.

Part of this was because of all the talk about the track conditions, but the other reason is due to the fact that you can pick up on a great deal from seeing the bikes circulate in person, which is lost from the media feed.

Who is pushing hard every lap? Who is waiting for a tow, and from whom? Who looks comfortable through a particularly difficult section of the track? How do the bikes and riders compare on approach, apex, and exit? And so on.

For bonus points, I brought my camera long with me as well.

A day full of racing, that is what the fans at Assen got this Sunday – thanks in no part to the snow that fell on the Saturday before. Back on the track and ready to ride, WorldSBK fans were treated to some good racing at The Cathedral, despite the names in the Top 3 not changing.

If there is on thing that we have learned from the 2019 season so far, it is that the assumptions from 2018 and before are completely up for grabs. The other lesson is that the Ducati Panigale V4 R is the real deal.

While the MotoGP action is in the United States this weekend, the World Superbike paddock is over in Assen, putting on their on display of two-wheeled excellence.

The Cathedral is one of the most popular stops on the WorldSBK calendar, and as such we are lucky to have Tony Goldsmith swinging a lens for us in The Netherlands.

So far, Assen has failed to disappoint. At the end of Friday’s FP2 session, only 0.031 seconds separated the top five riders, with Tom Sykes leading the charge, followed by Rea and Haslam.

It is hard to believe that the RSV4 superbike from Aprilia is 10 years old now…but then again, maybe it isn’t so hard to believe. The bike hasn’t change that much physically when you look at it (though, changes abound internally), and even the new latest-and-greatest version of the bike can only be really identified by its new aerodynamic aids.

That being said though, the RSV4 is still at the top of the heap, and with the RSV4 1100 Factory, Aprilia is looking to keep its crown in the superbike category. I won’t bore you with riding details now, but feel free to read our exhaustive riding review of this machine.

Getting a chance to snap some photos of the Aprilia RSV4 1100 Factory after riding it at Mugello, we spent some one-on-one time with this 214hp superbike, winglets and all.

That’s it! That is a wrap from Phillip Island and the opening round of the WorldSBK Championship season. It was a good showing for superbike racing, with a shakeup in the order of things.

The narrative for 2019 very much looks to continue the Ducati vs. Kawasaki trend from the last few seasons, but the list of riders who could be in the hunt has certainly widened.

The new Superpole Race format seems to be a hit as well, with the sprint race showing itself to be a gloves-off affair amongst the riders, which shouldn’t be a surprise considering that there are points and grid position on the line.

Phillip Island is always a wild card when it comes to predicting the season, and the next round in Thailand should give us more bearing on the state of the series, but we like what we see so far.

Speaking of which, we like what we see from Stephen McClements’ select photos from Australia on Sunday. Give them a look and enjoy!

Photos: © 2019 Stephen McClements – All Rights Reserved

Shooting Saturday’s practice sessions and the first race of the 2019 season, Stephen brings us our first glimpse of superbike racing action this year.

We won’t hit you with any spoilers, but if the rest of the season pans out like Race 1 did on Saturday, WorldSBK fans are in for quite a treat this year.

Photos: © 2019 Stephen McClements – All Rights Reserved

We have two Steves in Phillip Island this weekend for the WorldSBK, and for this gallery we are featuring the work of Mr. Stephen McClement. Shooting Friday’s practice sessions, Stephen brings us our first on-track glimpses of the 2019 season in proper.

The day’s activities saw Alvaro Bautista keeping his top spot from the testing days, but he only leads Jonathan Rea by a narrow margin of 0.014 seconds. Leon Haslam is in the charge as well, just 0.155 seconds back himself, while Lowes and Camier were closer to half a second back.

Chaz Davies finds himself surprisingly over a second behind his teammate, which doesn’t bode well for his championship. Though, we have many, many laps still to come from the season-opener.

And also, we have many more photos from Stephen still to come. Until then, enjoy this modest selection.

Photos: © 2019 Stephen McClements – All Rights Reserved

Steve sent us these photos from the WorldSBK test at Phillip Island, and it seemed like a good excuse to try the new “gallery post” function we’ve been working on for the site. Let us know what you think of the snaps, as well as this new feature.

Also, get excited for looks to be a cracking year in the WorldSBK Championship. The Australian round should be a real scrap, and it will be interesting to see the new Superpole Race format in the flesh. All that being said, who is your favorite to win?

Photos: © 2019 Steve English – All Rights Reserved

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