When a monarch dies there is always a replacement waiting in the wings. The line of succession need to be clear otherwise a Kingdom can be left in peril. In WorldSBK when one season ends another begins immediately as WorldSBK commentator Steve English explains…
“What’s your plan for the off-season?” It’s an innocuous question until the realisation dawns that the new season has already begun for teams and riders. There is no off-season for teams and riders. Their goals are already shifted towards next season.
WorldSBK’s first group test of the 2020 season will take place in two weeks time at Motorland Aragon. From the moment the flight crates were packed at the Losail International Circuit and flown back to Europe from Qatar the wheels are set in motion to get those bikes ready to be put onto trucks and sent to Spain. The turnaround of a race team is always incredibly impressive
The fight for the world championship may have already been decided but the scrap for third in the standings will go right to the wire. WorldSBK commentator Steve English assess the three riders battling it out.
Under the floodlights of the Losail International Circuit Alex Lowes, Michael van der Mark and Toprak Razgatlioglu will be fighting it out for third in the WorldSBK championship. The three riders have plenty to play for in the Qatari desert with only six points separating them as they enter the final weekend of the season.
An ex-rider said to me in Argentina “every rider has a bonus in their contract tied to finishing third in the championship. That’ll give it an extra edge this weekend!” Finding that bit more motivation to train harder through the last two weeks wouldn’t have been a challenge.
The 2019 World Superbike season is just around the corner and this could be one of the most interesting seasons in years. There’s new bikes, new riders, a new weekend format and plenty of intrigue ahead of the 13 round season. Phillip Island is the traditional curtain raiser of the motorcycle season. It’s the one round of any championship that is guaranteed a big audience and a lot of interest. The long winter of discontent is almost over. Bike racing fans can finally start to breathe again. The countdown is finally over and racing is about to begin!
The end of an era?
Don’t count on it happening but whether this is the year that Jonathan Rea finally trips up is a legitimate talking point in the WorldSBK paddock. The four times champion has dominated the series in recent years but for the first time since joining Kawasaki he might be forced to look over his shoulder at a bag full of rivals.
The foundation of Rea’s success has been built on dominating his teammate. With Tom Sykes put in his place Rea felt the confidence that comes from being able to focus on a single title rival. Typically this has been Chaz Davies but for 2019 the Yamaha has looked strong in testing and the blue machine has four capable riders. Ducati has an all-new bike and with WorldSBK regulars Davies and Eugene Laverty joined by MotoGP refugee Alvaro Bautista the Italian manufacturer has the riders capable of getting back to the front. Add in a motivated Sykes on a brand new BMW and you’ve got a mouth watering grid.
We’ve had very limited running on the opening day of the Phillip Island due to on and off rain throughout the day. With so much for teams to get to grips with for 2016-new tyres and electronics in particular-losing a day of running is very costly.
No team is being hit harder by the lack of track time than Repsol Honda. At the Sepang test the issues with the RC213v were once again apparent and this test is crucial for Marc Marquez and Dani Pedrosa to evaluate the new engine further. With more rain expected through the week it’s clear that HRC’s future will remain as clouded as Phillip Island.
The second MotoGP test of the pre-season starts tomorrow and after a difficult test at Sepang Aleix Espargaro will be keen to get back to business in Australia.
The Spaniard will have plenty to test with Suzuki planning on bringing their fully seamless gearbox to Phillip Island and still working on finding the best chassis for the coming season.
Photos are available to buy from last year’s MotoGP season with prices starting at €44.99 by clicking here.
The grid before a MotoGP race is an incredible blend of panic and activity. Teams are making sure that the bikes are ready for the start and the hustle and bustle of celebs, team personnel and hangers on is frightening at times.
In the midst of the chaos riders take the time to find an inner calm to be prepared for the race. In this picture we see Eugene Laverty stare down the camera as he finds his peace before going into battle.
Photos from the Phillip Island race are available to by here and are priced from €44.99.
The end of season Flat Track meet in Barcelona has quickly become one of the hottest tickets of the year. The Superprestigio started as a low key meeting where riders from various disciplines got together to try their hand at Flat Track racing.
The best of the US would come across the Atlantic to take on Marc Marquez and the best that MotoGP had to offer. Over the course of three years the event has become a real test of will between the top riders and provides a spectacle unlike anything else in Europe. In this picture Jared Mees waits to be called into the arena.
Photos from the Superprestigio are available to buy from €44.99 by clicking here!