The provisional 2017 World Superbike calendar has been released, but unlike the MotoGP calendar, which is unchanged, there are a couple of minor differences to the schedule.
The World Superbike class will contest 13 rounds, just as they did in 2016, spread across three continents. Sepang and Jerez have been dropped, and Portimao makes a comeback.
The WorldSBK calendar also sees a new class added to the series. As announced previously, the new World Supersport 300 class has been added as a cheap entry series, where young riders will take each other on aboard a wide range of the cheap, one and two cylinder sports bikes which manufacturers are currently building.
Homologated race bikes will include the Yamaha YZF-R3, the Kawasaki Ninja 300, the KTM RC390, and the Honda CBR500R.
The season kicks off as always at Phillip Island, on February 26th, a week after the final pre-season test, and ten days after the MotoGP test which is scheduled to be held there. From there, the WorldSBK grid heads to Thailand, to the Chang International Circuit, before heading back to Europe.
The races in Europe follow their usual schedule: Aragon, Assen, Imola, Donington Park, Misano, before the World Superbike riders head across the Atlantic to Laguna Seca, for the last race before the summer break.
That break is fortunately much shorter than last year, with a month between Laguna Seca and the next round at the Lausitzring in Germany.
But the WorldSBK riders face a wait of another month before the tenth round of the series, which sees World Superbikes make a return to the Portimao circuit in Portugal.
From there, they travel north to France, and Magny-Cours, before the final two rounds. The last round is as always in Qatar – a privilege it pays a hefty fee for. The Qatar round will also be held on a Saturday, rather than the Sunday, to fit in better with local customs.
The penultimate round of WorldSBK is still listed as TBA. Though there is no confirmation, there are persistent rumors that the series is seriously considering a return to Brno.
The fact that both the Supersport 300 series and the Superstock 1000 FIM Cup are scheduled to race at that round does suggests it will be held somewhere in Europe. Whether the weather is clement enough for racing in Brno in mid-October is open to question.
Dorna have been careful to schedule the WorldSBK series so it does not clash with any MotoGP rounds. The only same day schedule is with the twelfth, TBA round, but as that would clash with the Japanese round in Motegi, which takes place early in the day, it should not present any real problems.
A bigger problem is that in avoiding clashes with MotoGP, WorldSBK finds itself up against a more direct competitor in BSB British Superbikes series.
The two series are scheduled on seven of the same weekends: Aragon WorldSBK faces Donington BSB, Assen faces Oulton Park, Misano is up against Knockhill, Lausitzring against Cadwell Park, Portimao against Oulton Park and Magny-Cours against Assen.
For the most part, the different time schedules of the two series should mean the races of the two series are not on at the same time. There are also seven clashes with Formula One, but again, the different time schedules should avoid direct race clashes.
Below is the 2017 World Superbike provisional schedule:
|February 24-26||Australia||Phillip Island||X||X|
|March 10-12||Thailand||Chang International||X||X|
|March 31 – April 2||Spain||Aragon||X||X||X||X|
|April 28-30||The Netherlands||Assen||X||X||X||X|
|May 26-28||Great Britain||Donington Park||X||X||X||X|
|July 7-9||USA*||Laguna Seca||X|
|Sep 29 – October 1||France||Magny-Cours||X||X||X||X|
|*Subject to contract|
|**(SC) Schedule change – Round held Thursday – Saturday|
This article was originally published on MotoMatters, and is republished here on Asphalt & Rubber with permission by the author.