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.
Those qualifying sessions will set the grid for the WorldSSP race on Sunday, and WorldSBK race 1 – the normal length race – on Saturday, and a new, 10-lap sprint race to be held on Sunday.
The 10-lap sprint race – to be named the Tissot Superpole race – will set the first 9 positions of the grid for the second full-length race on Sunday afternoon.
Positions 10 and onwards will be set using the qualifying positions from Saturday’s Superpole session, presumably taking account of riders who qualified inside the top 9 but crashed out of the Superpole race on Sunday.
With the return of a single qualifying session, the times from free practice no longer count towards determining which Superpole session a rider has to go to.
That means that free practice is once again free practice, and riders can use the full session to work on race setup, rather than trying to post a quick lap.
As a result, the WorldSBK class loses one session of free practice from Friday. The press release does not state whether the current 40-minute sessions will be extended to compensate.
The 10-lap Tissot Superpole race will also count towards the championship, but as it is a shorter race, fewer points will be awarded.
The winner will score 12 points towards the championship, second place will get 9 points, and third place will get 7 points, with places four through nine being awarded 6, 5, 4, 3, 2, and 1 points respectively.
The two full length races will continue to score according to the current Grand Prix points system.
Winning the Superpole race will not count as a victory in rider statistics, however. At the end of the 2019 season, the WorldSBK will count 26 races from its 13 rounds.
The Superpole race is a qualifying competition, meant to establish a grid and add some excitement for spectators on Sunday, rather than count as a fully-fledged WorldSBK race.
Though the press release does not contain a detailed schedule, each WorldSBK event will look something like this:
Two sessions of free practice for the WorldSBK, WorldSSP, and where applicable, WorldSSP300 classes.
One session of free practice for WorldSBK, WorldSSP, and where applicable, WorldSSP300.
Qualifying for the WorldSSP300, WorldSSP, and WorldSBK classes.
WorldSBK Race 1.
A last chance qualifying race for the WorldSSP300 riders who didn’t make it straight into the top 30. 6 riders will progress to Sunday’s race.
Warm up for all three classes.
WorldSBK Tissot Superpole race of 10 laps.
WorldSBK Race 2.
Source: WorldSBK; Photo: © 2018 Jensen Beeler / Asphalt & Rubber – All Rights Reserved