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Episode 89 of the Paddock Pass Podcast is out, and in it we see David Emmett, Steve English, and Jensen Beeler on the mics, as we cover the 2018 WorldSBK Championship season.

The conversation starts with the champions, Jonathan Rea and the Kawasaki Racing Team, and we discuss how this has become the wining package in the WorldSBK paddock, especially with the contrasting fortunes of Tom Sykes.

The discussion includes a short interview with Leon Haslam, as he got his leg over the KRT-spec superbike during the Jerez post-season test.

If you live in the United States and like World Superbike racing, then we have good news for you, as the 2019 WorldSBK Calendar now includes Laguna Seca as a destination for next year.

After many indications that the World Superbike Championship would not be coming to the United States next year, after a contract dispute with the California track and Spanish racing series, that course has seemingly made a 180° turn.

Therefore, Laguna Seca will play host to the World Superbike series – sans World Supersport or Supersport 300 – during the July 12th-14th racing weekend.

Ever since the Superbike Commission – the rule-making body for WorldSBK – announced back in October that a third race would be added to the WorldSBK race weekend, we have wondered exactly what this would mean for the class, both in terms of championship points and qualifying position for the second WorldSBK race, held on Sunday.

On Tuesday, the FIM issued a press release containing the missing details for the coming season.

The new schedule impacts both qualifying and the races. The current two-stage Superpole has been abolished, replaced with a single Superpole session for the World Superbike and the World Supersport series.

Episode 88 of the Paddock Pass Podcast is out, and in it we see David Emmett, Neil Morrison, and Steve English on the mics, as we cover the Jerez Tests in Spain.

The post-season test saw a bevy of classes out on the track getting ready for the 2019 season. First up, the guys tackle the MotoGP paddock, which takes a good portion of the show.

The conversation then turns to the WorldSBK paddock, which took to Jerez once the GP boys were done. The show then concludes with a testing report from the Moto2 and MotoE classes, as they start a new era of racing next year.

In our inbox today was an interesting email from Ducati, telling us that an updated press kit for the Panigale V4 R superbike was now available on the press site.

Why was there a need to modify the available information? Well, it seems a key technical component on the 998cc machine was changed…more specifically, the 2019 Ducati Panigale V4 R now comes with a dry clutch from the factory.

And so the season ends for WorldSBK. The weather finally behaved at Jerez, and the four WorldSBK teams and three WorldSSP teams got a full day of testing in at Jerez.

Or rather, nearly a full day of testing: the track opened at 10am, but the riders didn’t go out for about 45 minutes, as cold track temperatures made it a perilous undertaking in those early minutes.

But the sun soon did its work, heated the asphalt, and away they went.

There have been some major shake ups on the WorldSBK grid for 2019, leaving some big-name riders without a ride. Today, one of those big names found a home.

The Go Eleven Team announced they had signed Eugene Laverty to race a Ducati Panigale V4 R in the WorldSBK championship for the 2019 season.

“I’m delighted to join Team Go Eleven to ride the new Ducati Panigale V4 R in 2019! The past five weeks has been a stressful period so it’s great to secure a competitive seat in the end,” said Laverty.

Today is the Friday after Thanksgiving, which means many of you awoke from your food coma, and headed to the stores for Black Friday start to your Christmas shopping.

That is right, the holiday season is upon us, and that means that we should be publishing some sort of Holiday Gift Guide for you, where we pretend to be journalists while taking a small commission from the links we funnel you towards.

It is a sad practice, and one that fills our inbox around this time of year. I wonder how many hundreds of dollars are traded for whatever last scrap of journalism that remains in this industry…it’s probably best not to think about it.

Don’t worry, we have a remedy. A real item you would want to have in your garage, and it is not some garbage tire pressure gauge from a company that bought a bunch of advertising from us this year.

This is a superbike. A real superbike. A WorldSBK-spec Honda CBR1000RR SP2 superbike. It is one of the Triple M Honda CBR1000RR SP2 superbikes that PJ Jacobsen raced in the 2018 World Superbike Championship.

While the line up for the 2019 MotoGP season was settled surprisingly early in the year, the opposite has been the case for WorldSBK. With just two weeks to go to the first full test of 2019, there are still a whole range of seats open, and questions going unanswered.

One of the reasons for the delay became clear at the EICMA show in Milan last week. While the manufacturers were presenting their newest bikes, including some of the key machines that will star in World Superbikes next year, a couple of manufacturers also presented their racing programs for 2019.

Perhaps the biggest story came from Honda, where HRC presented Althea and Moriwaki as their new partners in running their WorldSBK program. After a partnership of three years, and a relationship going back nearly two decades, Ten Kate are out, with the Italians and Japanese taking over.

It wasn’t just Ten Kate: title sponsor Red Bull were also out. The energy drink firm had signed up when Nicky Hayden was with the team, a big name draw for sponsors, and a rider with a long connection to Red Bull.

It was Red Bull who brought in Jake Gagne, the American who never really found his feet in the WorldSBK championship. After two years of poor results, Red Bull withdrew.