The 2017 World Superbikes season is already shaping up to be pretty exciting. With multiple line-up changes and new rules being implemented, it’s sure to be an exciting year of racing.
So what exactly is new to the class and why should you be watching?
We’re going to be seeing a reverse grid…which sounds ridiculously confusing but believe me, it’s not. Basically in race two, whoever finished in 1st, 2nd and 3rd in race one will be moved to the third row of the grid for race two and 1st and 3rd will reverse their positions.
Example: If Jonathan Rea finishes race one in 1st place, he will start from 9th on the grid in race two.
To go hand in hand with that, whoever finishes in 4th, 5th and 6th position in race one will be promoted to the front row of the grid for race two.
Example: If Nicky Hayden finishes race one in 4th place, he will start race two from pole position.
It could be said that this will penalise the quickest riders but like they say, “the cream always rises to the top.”
The reverse grid is sure to shake up the racing and we all know that World Superbikes needs it. You don’t need to be a data analyst to notice that attendance figures at World Superbikes rounds have been decreasing dramatically. Even when you watch a race on Eurosport, the grandstands are almost empty and I think it’s because of the lack of action. But this new race format is sure to turn a few heads and shake a few tail feathers.
The introduction of the new Supersport 300 class means there will be an extra slice of action to watch over the racing weekend.
We will see 35 fresh-faced new riders and 24 teams covering 14 nationalities entering the new class. In order to make things fair, there are only four bikes which have been homologated for use; the Honda CBR500R, the KTM RC390, the Kawasaki Ninja 300 and Yamaha’s YZF-R3. The class has been set up as a ‘feeder’ class for young riders to get into racing in an affordable way.
It’s a really great idea and I think the SSP300 class will draw in fans – as an extra race during the weekend adds more value for money to the ticket price.
One of the most exciting things about the 2017 season will be this: can Jonathan Rea defend his world title for the third year running? Honestly? I think he can, and I really hope he does because it’ll be a massive achievement for not only him, but also the Kawasaki Racing Team.
However we are seeing a flock of new riders coming in, and various other riders moving to different teams. Who knows what they can do on the bikes they are given? There’s some real potential moving to WSBK and it’ll be interesting to see who can achieve what.
Finally, the biggest reason to watch World Superbikes is this…these are bikes that you can buy. Sure, they race with technology more advanced than we could use to ride on track days, but you could literally go to your local Kawasaki dealer and buy the basic spec version of Jonathan Rea’s Kawasaki or Chaz Davies’ Ducati.
What’s not to love about that?
(photo credit: Dorna)