What is WorldSBK?
The FIM Superbike World Championship ("WorldSBK") is currently in its 29th year of competition and the spectacle is growing from strength to strength. Originating from the 'race on Sunday, buy on Monday' philosophy, WSBK is a 1000cc production bike competition fought across the globe, with races held in Europe, North America, Australia, Asia and the Middle East throughout the 14 round season – which runs from February to late October. The 2016 grid holds an expected 24 riders, 14 teams and 7 manufacturers within the top-tier of the championship structure.
Three support-classes (World Supersport, FIM SuperStock 1000 Cup and the European Junior Cup) regularly participate in the international race events, with contributions from national categories where possible, facilitating integral rider progression and allowing the spirit of the competition to develop globally.
The Superbike weekend schedule was adapted in 2014. Condensed and time specific, the track action runs across a three-day period with free practice sessions on the opening day followed by the revised "Superpole" format on Saturday.
Superpole is a top-20 rider shoot-out to determine pole position. Superpole 1 features the 10 riders who placed 20-11 in the weekend's previous timed free practise sessions. The highest placed two riders from this session will progress to Superpole 2, while the remaining eight will claim their grid positions in the fifth-seventh rows. The top 12 riders of the weekend so far will then fight for the remaining grid spots, and the all-important pole position, with another 15 minute session.
The main event consists of two races. 2016 sees a change to the previous format with one race taking place on each of the Saturday and Sunday afternoons. Riders are awarded points for each race, down to 15th position, and the season total is combined to determine a champion, not just for the riders, but also for the manufacturers – in this case utilising the score from the highest placed rider per race.