World Superbike Race Weekend Schedule Radically Revised

On the same day that the Grand Prix Comission met to discuss new rules on penalty points and Moto3 chassis prices, the equivalent body ruling the World Superbike series - the Superbike Commission - also met to discuss a raft of new measures. The meeting was part of a series of ongoing talks between the teams, Dorna and the manufacturers to establish a new set of rules for WSBK from 2015 onwards. At this meeting, the Superbike Commission established a new time schedule for each World Superbike weekend, as well as continuing talks on homologation and technical regulations.

With Dorna now in charge, one of the measures taken was to attempt to standardize the sporting regulations between the World Superbike and MotoGP series. In practice, that means that both series will have a common set of procedures and flags, which should make it a little easier for TV audiences to understand the differences between the two, with only the technical rules being different.

A much bigger change for TV audiences is the radically changed schedule for race day, with racing moved to the late morning and early afternoon to avoid clashes with major sporting events such as Formula One, MotoGP and European soccer matches. The day will now start very early, with a warm up for the World Superbike class at 8:40am, followed by Supersport warm up at 9:05am. The first World Superbike race of the day is at 10:30am (was previously 12 noon), the Supersport race is at 11:40am (was 1:30pm) and the second and final World Superbike race of the day is at 1:10pm (was 3:30pm). For most of the rounds taking place in Europe, this means that the second World Superbike race will just be finishing as Formula One or other major sporting events start at 2pm. The hope is that fans of both motorcycle racing and Formula One will tune in for the WSBK races before F1, offering a full day of motor sports action for race fans.

The change will be less positive for fans attending the races. They will have to get to the tracks earlier, and will see the main races of the day early on, while the support program shifts from before the main classes to afterwards. The Superstock 1000cc race has already been shifted from its morning slot to the time slot following WSBK race 2, and any national support classes are likely to follow suit. Event schedules for Saturday remain largely unchanged from previous years, with Superpole still taking place at 3pm, as before. How the schedule will run at overseas rounds, where TV clashes are less likely to happen, remains to be seen. It is likely the season opener at Phillip Island will run to the European schedule, as a 10:30am race local Melbourne time would start at half past midnight on Saturday night, a time when fans are more likely to watch than the previous 2am start.

One interesting detail from the Superbike Commission is the mention of discussions about homologation procedures, minimum sales numbers and, for the first time, a proposal to impose a maximum retail price for models to be homologated. With sales of sports bikes continuing to decline, even the relatively lowly numbers of 2000 units can be hard to achieve, especially for small manufacturers. With Buell set to enter for 2014, this has become a very relevant consideration. Reducing the homologation numbers risks seeing the return of the so-called 'homologation specials', bikes such as the Yamaha R7, which were close to being racing prototypes with lights and mirrors. The suggestion to impose a maximum retail price should reduce the temptation of factories to build homologation specials, as they have to be able to sell the base model at a reasonable price.

The interesting part will be the level at which the maximum retail price is set. Honda have admitted they are building a special V4 Superbike, but its introduction keeps getting put back, now being expected at the end of 2014. Insider reports suggested that bike would retail at a price around 75,000 euros, a price which would presumably be well above the proposed limit. With bikes such as Ducati's Panigale 1199R retailing for around 33,000 euros in Italy, it seems likely that a price would be set at around the 50,000 euro mark. The devil is in the detail, of course: to avoid manufacturers gaming the system, agreeing which market defines the retail price to be used for homologation purposes will be crucial.

Below is the press release from the FIM with the minutes of the Superbike Commission:

FIM Superbike & Supersport World Championships and FIM Superstock 1000cc Cup
Changes to Regulations for 2014

The Superbike Commission, composed of Messrs Javier Alonso (WSBK Executive Director), Ignacio Verneda (FIM Executive Director, Sport) and Takanao Tsubouchi (MSMA Representative), met at the Dorna Headquarters in Madrid on 10 December 2013 in the presence of MM Daniel Carrera and Gregorio Lavilla (WSBK-Dorna), Corrado Cecchinelli (Consultant in Technology), Charles Hennekam and Paul Duparc (FIM).

The 2014 FIM Superbike & Supersport World Championship and Superstock 1000cc Cup Regulations were approved by the Commission. The Sporting Rules will be as similar as possible to the 2014 GP Regulations. The Technical Regulations were also accepted. Some minor details are still to be reviewed and the complete regulations will be available on the FIM website shortly.

A long discussion took place between the members to review the homologation procedure for 2015, especially to review the minimum number of machines to be produced by a manufacturer for the purposes of homologation and to fix the maximum retail price for a model to be homologated.

For the next season, the time-schedule of an entire SBK event will be as follows:

10.00 – 10.45 45’ SUPERSPORT FREE PRACTICE 1
11.00 - 11.30 30’ SUPERSTOCK 1000 FREE PRACTICE 1
11.45 – 12.30 45’ SUPERBIKE FREE PRACTICE 1
13.45 – 14.30 45’ SUPERSPORT FREE PRACTICE 2
14.45 – 15.15 30’ SUPERSTOCK 1000 FREE PRACTICE 2
15.30 – 16.15 45’ SUPERBIKE FREE PRACTICE 2
09.00 - 09.30 30’ SUPERSTOCK 1000 FREE PRACTICE 3
09.45 – 10.30 45’ SUPERBIKE FREE PRACTICE 3
10.45 – 11.30 45’ SUPERSPORT FREE PRACTICE 3
12.30 – 13.00 30’ SUPERBIKE FREE PRACTICE 4
15.00 – 15.15 15’ SUPERBIKE SUPERPOLE 1
15.25- 15.40 15’ SUPERBIKE SUPERPOLE 2
08.40 – 08.55 15’ SUPERBIKE WARM UP
09.05 – 09.20 15’ SUPERSPORT WARM UP
09.30 – 09.40 10’ SUPERSTOCK 1000 WARM UP
10.30   SUPERBIKE   RACE 1
13.10   SUPERBIKE   RACE 2
14.15   SUPERSTOCK 1000  RACE



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As much as I like the idea of being able to walk into a showroom on Monday and buy the bike that won a world championship race on Sunday, until World Superbike turns into World Superstock, it's a total fallacy.

What would you rather lust after, an RC30 or a VFR750? A YZF-R7 or a bog-standard R1 like tens of thousands of others sitting in showrooms around the world?

I could fire up Ebay or open a copy of Bike Trader tomorrow and find an example of yesterday's homologation exotica for quite reasonable money and own something that was sex on two wheels in its day. RC45, ZX7-RR, SP-2. Or I could a Fireblade just like the bloke next door and his mate at work. I jest - I've not bought a Honda since I was 16 and have no urge to do so - but in a parallel world that's how humdrum it would be.

Teenagers need something to lust after - what did you have on your wall as a kid, a Lamborghini or a Ford Focus? - and the world needs something a little bit special, not a bog standard litrebike that shares nothing but a silhouette with what's on the grid.

Long live the homologation special.

I am sick of watching showroom bikes being raced, they have taken over at all levels and the sport just hasn't the same interest any more at any level which production road bikes are raced!

I just wish we could get back to real racing machinery being produced and raced around the world! Yes, have a proddy class but things have got out of hand now!
Homologation specials do at least hold some interest.

As far as timing Superbikes to not clash with MotoGP on TV, forget it, who is going to pay for BT sport? What a crazy mixed up world Dorna live in!

Erm WSB is for showroom models, as no one buys sports bike these days WSB is becoming less relevant and pointless, the homologation specials are virtually what we have now and no one can afford them to race. Make the region championships more high profile in my opinion like the old days, I'm with Clive Padgett on the use of proddie bikes in world championships.

As for the viewing times, there are more in the world than the UK, so the rest of the world may have a different opinion not getting BT SPort. BT Sport is growing though but so are the complaints, get used to it cause as soon as Dorna can get out of the exclusive Eurosport deal done by IMS things may change. Strange how people don't mind paying for Eurosport even though the coverage is diabolical, although the amateur camera work does not help that.

I pay £3 a month for Eurosport coverage and it's an absolute 24-carat solid gold bargain for the BSB and WSBK coverage alone. The camera work might be a bit ropey, but Whitham and Burnicle are the most entertaining commentary team around, particularly compared to the televisual mogadon that was Ryder/Moody/MotoGP.

The BT Sport deal is maddening though. Don't have Virgin Media in your area? Don't have Sky? Want to use an ISP other than BT Internet? Bend over and prepare to be reamed by Dorna.

This tight schedule leaves little time for red flags. I hope they revise these procedures, as they are quite tedious, taking 25 minutes just for a plain restart procedure.

Way to fix something that ain't broke Dorna. Good luck with that 8:40 AM warm up at Laguna next year, not to mention that 10:30 AM race. There's going to be more laundry waving around that track than at grandma's house in the summer. You better have a plan for red flagged races. Certainly can't have the people missing pics of Hamilton's celeb grilfriends or Alonzo's facinating sideburns. Sheesh...

Well, those early starts and putting the main event before the the opening acts is just plain ridiculous to me. AMA did that and now look at the series. No one gives a buck about it anymore with all the changes they made that drove the series into the ground with all the changes shedding fans everytime. WSBK has more of a fan base and should do ok, but if too many changes keep happening it will have an effect.

Personally what I would love to see living over here in the United States, is a website like the Motogp website, so I can see free practice, qualifying and the damn race LIVE. I have to do 2 hours of searching on the web every Monday after a race to find a video posted of the WSBK races. Don't even know if it comes on TV anymore here.

Everytime I come to this site for great bike news all I see is rules rules and more rules and cost cutting and all that crap.. Why can't they just leave the championship as is.. Hate all these dumb rules from Dorna I don't even know what homoligation means lol.. If they keep imposing rules after rules then suddenly Dorna will be up the ass cause they will loose a lot of fan base..egggghhhh
It will all of a sudden become un interesting.. Espeleta should retire n hand over the right back to the flammini brothers n leave Dorna and take his same minded posse with him.. Making excuses about bike sales this n that get over it .. Oh yea and since I live in Texas I can only watch wsbk on YouTube after the race good luck loosing a lot of American audience.. Cause speed tv sucks A** wish I had Eurosport lol

Do yourselves a favor and get DirecTV. WSBK is covered in FULL on BeIN Sports. Best thing that ever happened to WSBK coverage in the states. There must be other cable providers that carry it as well. As to whether or not it will be worth watching for much longer is another question entirely.

None yet. There was only one channel covering WSBK in India since 2011 and that too was barely available in 15 % indian homes.Next year seems to be better with Star Sports giving it coverage. the eurosport commentary team is the best.Their excitement mimics what i feel watching the races @ home. Is Eurosport still covering it next year?