2012 Silverstone WSBK Sunday Roundup: Fun With Rules

Silverstone is a large, flat track at the top of a flattened hill, which makes it an ideal airfield, but a weather-prone race track. With a thunderstorm happening in the vicinity, the riders in both World Superbikes and World Supersport were punished by rain-lashed races in treacherous conditions.

In the first race, it started off dry but when David Johnson and Norino Brignola crashed, the red flags came out. The rules state that if a race is halted for climatic reasons, the restart must be declared a wet race, meaning it could not be stopped a second time by Race Direction if the weather turns for the worse. A dangerous situation then ensued, with all but two riders on slick tyres competing in a race that was going to get a lot wetter.

The only rider that stuck his hand up at any point to call for the race to be stopped was Leon Camier who crashed shortly after. No other riders deemed the race too unsafe, even if it was obviously dangerous. Watching riders at the end of race one, it was clear than many of them didn't have any confidence whatsoever in the track and the amount of grip they would get. Standing water forced many riders to drop their pace rapidly, and a few scares only added to their apprehension. The riders that finished the race on the podium were not riders that are realistically competing for the championship.

In race two, the race was red-flagged when a succession of riders crashed due to the hard rain, and when Loris Baz crashed on fluids from a previous crash floating on top of standing water. When the race was finished, the results were rolled back to the beginning of the last completed lap, as stated in the rules, but the race was originally called at 9 laps, with Eugene Laverty given third place, until it was corrected to be the beginning of lap nine instead of lap eight. We currently have a race result with half points awarded when the riders only completed eight of 17 laps, instead of the half distance required.

Race one should have been ended before it was and race two was ended before it could be called a result. A confusing day in the wet.

On top of this, this year, a single bike rule has been introduced, forcing each team to only have one bike available to each rider in an effort to cut costs. This rule, however, punishes riders who crash and, with the rain we've been having at almost every race weekend, this year is one that generates a lot of unforced errors. If the cost savings are not as great as proposed, with the richer teams able to afford a couple of spare bikes in bits behind the garage, then this rule just punishes riders that have to compensate for lower performance with higher risks.

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My other half and I were at Silverstone. I've never had such an easy time leaving a big sporting event, and while this was nice, it reflects he very low numbers in attendance. The meeting coincided with the London Olympics, an event scheduled a mere six or seven years ago. I guess this clash explains the presence of just two big screens that I saw? The poor forecast didn't help, but even so the stands were embarrassingly bare, and there were no people at all outside the stands. I was at last years' similarly damp (and even more expensive to enter) motogp and the crowds there were many times larger. The programme of racing was thin, and having paid for two paddock passes there was nothing worthy of our £30 investment to see there, and the 'pit walk' literally involved a difficult to rach paddock, far from the grandstands worth viewing the race from, devoid of any of the top riders. They used to be far more accessible; you can not avoid the feeling that such add ons are now just about extracting as much money as possible from the dwindling numbers in attendance.

And don't get me started on the price of a burger & coffee.......

I can't help thinking that they could sell more tickets by cutting the entry price? Every other person we saw seemed to be in possession of some sort of freebie pass or other.

LOL!!!! Just look at this site. It should tell you what the main series is. More people. It h about GP on here and how it should be. How WSBK is better racing and bla bla bla bla bla. Then we look at the discussions on this site. A fucked up weekend for WSBK and no one seems to give a shit. More people are worried about where Rossi might end up and what Spies is doing next year. GP is the main stream and no matter how good of racing WSBK may produce. It will never get the attention of GP for the simple fact of politics. BS in my opinion as there is much to discuss abou this weekend but that's the way.

All you whinny bitchs' about how WSBK is so much better. Where are you now??? Plenty of Drama at this round yet, this is the 4th post.?????????

Oh well, here's to the ones that enjoy racing, that have done it, that have felt a machine part it's limits only to know that luck and skill(whatever the percentage) are keeping you around the corner. To the ones that can feel the buck of that slight twitch onTV, that chatter in the front and the knowing that the bike is way out of shape but, "I'm going to make it" attitude.

Well done to the balls of the guys in WSBK. I enjoyed every minute. Edge if the seat racing. !!!

Long time GP fan (50+ years following the exploits of Geoff Duke and co until now).
Decided to pay for cable sport option that included WSBK after not having it for a few years, and I am very happy with the racing. Serious cut and thrust, and a lot more overtaking.
Sure, not the cream of the riding crop - they gravitate to MotoGP - but plenty of very good riders on well-prepared machines going at it hell for leather.
The major class in MotoGP has fast lost relevance - too much tampering and not enough teams. Moto 2 and 3 produce great racing, but the monotonous farting sound of Moto3 is enough to put long-time fans off, and Moto2 is just a chassis-manufacturers class.
2 competitive brands in MotGP, versus 6 in WSBK......

There's something out there for everyone, as proven by Nascar........

I think it was said that even though a rule had been broken. There would be no penelty as there isn't a clear sanction in the rule book for that one.

I agree with Scwirral, I was there; numbers were well down, and all the factors he mentions must have contributed.

We decided against the pit walk a couple of years ago as a bloody rip-off. Mind you we saw from the stand opposite that Sykes was there, Rea, Ayoama, Sofuoglu, and Haslam, they didn't all come out straight away though. Oh, and instead of Melandri I'm sure I saw his dolly girlfriend handing out signed pictures of herself.

Checa was going great guns before it started to rain and with slicks he clearly decided it wasn't worth risking a broken leg for a win. Baz did a great job in Race 1 in staying on to win it. Guintoli was very good in the 'proper' wet Race 2 but I can't for the life of me understand why two riders that crashed (Baz, Smrz) still get a podium, I think the BSB rules are better.

As for the Moto GP argument, yes clearly on this site there is little interest in WSBK, shame, some really good racing here, just because it isn't the premier league doesn't mean it isn't a good sport, I suspect that once you get past the top riders in Moto GP there is little to choose between them and the best in WSBK.

How happy was I that I had a industry holiday on the Monday this week and was able to catch up on both SBK races as well as the Supersport from Silverstone.
In amongst Steve Martin's and Jonathan Green's inane contradictions of one another, it was good to see some French riders not only at the front but completely dominating the field in tricky conditions.
Loris Baz is a definite one to watch in the future and I would not be surprised if he gets the full time ride next year in SBK.
Cluzel I've watched in 250s and Moto2 and I always felt he was quick but lost his cool pretty quickly and consequently crashed more often than not. This SS race he stalked Sam Lowes calmly and overtook at the perfect opportunity. Finally showing that his sabbatical in Supersport has helped him grow into a more rounded rider.
Sylvain was unlucky in the first race with his wrong tire choice, but made amends with some quality riding in race 2. It is easy to forget that he was a MotoGP rider and obviously has some real talent which tends to get overlooked when you are on mediocre bikes.
Some very ordinary diarising of the British round can surely be blamed for poor attendance at the track, but I would say that anyone who switched channels from the Olympics got to see some of the best races this year... across all classes!

The racing is great, and the variety of bikes more interesting. But scheduling a race 77 miles from London during the Olympics?
For that matter, we have one round in the states in Utah (the middle of nowhere) at miller motorsporta park on memorial day weekend-the last weekend in may . Frankly, the weather in that area is extremely unpredictable. Riders from California and the other coastal states have to cross the rockie mountains to get to the race, and the population density within 300 miles of the track is lower than nearly any other part of the united states. It's a nutty place to put a race.

They bring SBK to NJMP or VIR - as mentioned above, the population density of the mid atlantic region and northeast parts of the US would support this race. NJMP needs a little cosmetic finishing as it is still relatively new but the main track is fairly challenging. VIR is a well known venue with AMA's Big Kahuna weekend held there for years. As with most tracks, however, the marketing/promoting was terrible and AMA parted ways. Not sure if new curbing presents any issues there.

As for SBK fans on this site,they are few and far between but the more motogp fails to deliver a spectacle the more people are at least willing to have the argument of mgp vs sbk.

I for one have man crushes on all mgp riders and have long considered them heros but, when it comes to race interest sbk is where i go. It's just too bad we get no real coverage of the races here in the states beyond the horrible, terrible, tragically bad Speed Channel.

the former name of this site answers your question as to why there is more mgp interest but David is growing his staff and now has a dedicated sbk journalist.

Lastly, sorry to sound like a prude, but watch the f-bombs. You can get your point across without sinking the site to that level

Interesting post 58, but an f-bomb, do you mean swearing? If so I agree and I don't think you're a prude, but I admit I did put 'bloody' in my post, (we Brits like the word 'bloody', its considered very mild).

My impression is that bike racing isn't of great interest in the States (outside of those who contribute here of course) how many were at Laguna Seca and how many might be expected at Indy for example? I'm sure the manufacturers would regard the States as vital, therefore if Miller doesn't get good attendances (I noticed on TV the absence of spectators) than maybe they should go elsewhere as you suggest?

Having said that, maybe they get Miller ''on the cheap'?

I flew to Laguna from Washington DC and raceday attendance was 50,000; not a Mugello or Spainish round turnout but good given the economic situation in the states.

I am heading to Indy also but i hink that is a poor venue. It holds 400,000 people so even if packed it looks empty. By the way, it doesn't draw close to 100,000.

I think if the industry would actually make investments in production quality the fan base would grow. Right now races are produced as a nascar event with pit interviews during a sprint race, countless commercials and poor camera shots abound.

Also, our fans Fans are too casual and without exciting racing in mgp there is nothing to keep there attention Sbk would fix this and could be a better leverage point for mgp

Thanks for the info; that's interesting.

We have Moto GP on the BBC thankfully, no adverts and good commentary and pundits, some of the peripheral stuff is a bit trivial but mustn't grumble.

WSBK however, only British Europsport; adverts cutting in even during the race (in the middle of an overtake even, doesn't matter), and the same 4 or so adverts played bloody incessantly, drives me nuts. The commentary and pundits are good and quite witty.

Both Eurosport and BBC of course take race shots from the host company.

50,00 isn't bad; and have a good time at Indy BTW!