The Superbike World Championship is likely to run three races on at least two race weekends this season, MCN can reveal.
The word in the Jerez paddock, where a two day test is taking place this week, is that championship organisers Dorna Sports are ‘very likely’ to go ahead with a plan currently under consideration to stage three races across the British and Portuguese rounds at Donington Park and Portimao respectively, while also retaining the opening race on Saturday.
The move would see two Superbike races bookending the Sunday schedule and would mean a pair of premier class races are staged on a Sunday for the first time since 2015, the last season which featured the traditional two-race Sunday format before the Saturday-Sunday split was introduced in 2016.
Part of the thinking behind the modified schedule for Donington and Portimao is that these are the only two European rounds which run an out-of-the-ordinary agenda which sees a MotoGP-like build-up, with the smaller categories kicking off proceedings before the Superbike race ends the Sunday. The other European rounds follow Central European Time as opposed to GMT; at these other rounds, the Sunday Superbike race comes before both Supersport 300 and Superstock 1000 in order to be screened on live TV at peak time.
It was initially believed these additional two races would fill the void should the new Argentinean Round, penned into the calendar for mid-October, not take place. However, the latest word is that the new Villicum Circuit in San Juan Province could become the third venue to adopt the new format. Depending on the exact number of races to be added, the 2018 campaign could feature up to 29 races.