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.
The first European round of the WorldSBK season always brings excitement.
With trucks and hospitality units back on site, the paddock starts to feel more familiar; and with the opening round of the Supersport 300 and STK1000 series, there’s certainly a lot more track action.
The action on track so far in 2018 has seen the series receive a much-needed shot in the arm, and the new regulations have certainly helped to produce more competitive racing.
If the second round of the 2018 WorldSBK season is anything to go by the regulation shake-up could see an absolutely compelling season. Buriram gave plenty to talk about!
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.
The 2018 WorldSBK season is just around the corner, and Asphalt & Rubber has you covered for the latest within the paddock. After a winter of change for the WorldSBK paddock, normality will resume with the opening round of the season.
The biggest technical shake-up in series history should ensure closer competition throughout the field and the goal is to ensure that Jonathan Rea and Kawasaki are given a stern test throughout the campaign.
With rev limits imposed on a manufacturer by manufacturer basis, the performance weighting of each bike can be adjusted throughout the season.
The changes have been criticised by some Kawasaki brass recently, but for Rea the changes are a source of motivation.
The 2018 World Superbike season will another American on the grid, as Jake Gagne has been announced as Red Bull Honda’s second rider for next year.
The news comes after Gagne impressed with several wild card appearances throughout the 2017 season, as well as post-season testing stints.
The move up from the MotoAmerica Championship to the World Superbike Champion is a big one for Gagne, and for American road racing, as it is the first such transition for the rebooted American series.
Though for Gagne it means a great opportunity, 2018 will still certainly be a test for the 24-year-old. Not only will he have to contend with a grid full of world-class riders, and race at a number of unfamiliar circuits, Gagne will have to contend with the Honda CBR1000RR SP2 superbike platform.
If you didn’t catch the hint in Leon Camier’s interview with us (for our A&R Pro subscribers), the British rider has switched teams for the 2018 World Superbike season, signing today with the Ten Kate Honda team for next season.
The move is a bold one for Camier, who has made a name for himself in the WorldSBK paddock by putting the MV Agusta F4 well beyond the ranks that many insiders expected it to achieve.
With Ten Kate needing similar helping developing the Honda CBR1000RR SP2, Camier’s presence in the garage next season is surely a welcomed sign for Big Red, but one has to wonder if its the best idea for Camier.
Stefan Bradl is to miss the rest of the 2017 WorldSBK season. The Red Bull Honda rider’s wrist injury, sustained in a crash at Portimao, is more serious than initially thought, and the recovery period required means he will not be fit for either the Jerez or Qatar rounds of WorldSBK.
The decision was taken after surgery on Bradl’s right wrist. Pins were inserted and a torn scaphulonate ligament reattached, damage sustained in the crash.
The surgeons who performed the operation have ordered Bradl to keep his wrist immobilized to allow the damage to heal. This effectively makes it impossible for him to ride for the rest of the season.