World Superbike bosses are considering scrapping the controversial reverse grid system introduced for the 2017 season after it hasn’t worked out as they expected.
The convoluted system sees the top three riders from Saturday’s opening race start race two from the third row of the grid in reverse order, with those finishing fourth, fifth and sixth elevated to the front row and those in seventh, eighth and ninth moving fourth, fifth and sixth.
The hope was that it would make race two closer and give the teams and riders often unable to compete with the might of the factory Kawasaki and Ducati squads a chance to be competitive.
However, the system has proved ineffective, with no race two podium so far this season having featured riders from any team other than the factory Kawasaki and Ducati outfits.
Not only that, but the system also hasn’t provided closer racing in the early stages with the top riders taking no time at all to make it to the front in the early laps.
In fact, it could be argued that the system has been detrimental to the quality of racing by breaking up the quickest riders in the early stages and allowing for too much of a gap to be built. For example, Tom Sykes had identical pace to team-mate Jonathan Rea in the second race at Donington Park but got held up making his way through the pack at the start of the race whereas Rea was able to fight his way to the front in the first few corners and build a substantial gap at the front.
“I think we were expecting something else from the grid system,” confessed WSB head honcho Daniel Carrera. “I think we saw an impact in Aragon, Imola and Misano, but in the rest of the races in the first laps the top riders were in front.
“I think this is because of the gap between the top guys and the rest, if the gap was not that big the system would be providing different scenarios.
“The target of this system was to offer something different to the opening race and also offer the opportunity for the riders not usually at the front to get better exposure. We will analyse the full effect of the system at the end of the season and we will see if we will continue or not.”
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