The international roadracing season continues to pack a lot of action and drama into a shortened timespan, and this week, we’re seeing changes to the World Superbike and World Endurance schedules, and a lot of chatter about the wild crashes at the Red Bull Ring in Sunday’s MotoGP showdown.
World Superbike schedule changes
The World Superbike season is still seeing changes to the schedule, with the Italian round at Misano cancelled. The reason? COVID-19, of course. As per the WSB website, “The round was scheduled to be the final round of the Championship but given the uncertainty of the COVID-19 pandemic, all parties agreed to cancel the event, scheduled for November, and instead focus on securing the Championship’s presence at the circuit for three more years, starting in 2021.” It seems that, without the ability to have fans at the race, the track didn’t want to go ahead for 2020.
So, World Superbike added a race at Circuito Estoril, in Portugal, where it hasn’t raced since 1993. You can see the track’s layout above; here’s what WSB’s website said about the 4.182-km track:
“… it features a variety of long-radius Parabolicas, tight hairpins, slow chicanes, quick kinks and flowing esses. A 986-metre long, 14-metre wide front straight will see some of the fastest top speeds of the year, before the hard-braking zone of Turn 1, a prime overtaking spot. It’s pretty one line through Turn 2 before Turn 3 will welcome overtaking in abundance. It’s a short shoot to Turn 4, again an overtaking place.
Turn 5 is the ferociously fast kink which takes you down to Turn 6 and the Parabolica Interior, another overtaking hotspot but one which is incredibly easy to miss a braking marker and run wide. Over the top of the hill, Turn 7 is another potential passing place before heading round the sweeping Turn 8 and into one of the tightest and slowest chicanes on the calendar – passing is possible but it could cost your exit at Turn 10 and Turn 11.
The final part of the track is one of the best in the world, through the left-hand flick at Turn 12 before the Ayrton Senna Parabolica at Turn 13 will see the bikes loop round and ask for the power, charging down the main straight and completing a lap of the undulating Circuito Estoril. 13 turns consisting of nine right-handers and four left-handers, this circuit is the ultimate final round, with plenty of overtaking spots. Lap times around the 1’36s bracket are to be expected, as Estoril readies for a return to a motorcycle racing World Championship for the first time since 2012.”
Mayhem in Austria
About the crashes in the Austrian race: We’re not going to say much, because there have been plenty of words already, but here’s MotoGP’s excellent video coverage of the scary incident:
Rossi had some harsh words for Zarco afterwards, but Zarco says the slipstream is what caused the crash, and he seems to be genuinely concerned about the incident—a welcome change from some of the attitudes in MotoGP the past few years. The two racers met up for a private conversation, and it seems they’ve got it sorted out now.
Oh, and in case you missed it, there was another scary crash in Moto2.
World Endurance drops Bol D’Or
World Endurance doesn’t get the same hype as MotoGP or World Superbike, but it’s still a major international roadracing series, and that means it faces the same challenges as those Dorna-managed series. The World Endurance series has already had schedule changes this year, and now we’re getting another: the Bol D’Or race has been cancelled, thanks to local authorities pulling its permit.
So, we’re getting another race inserted into the schedule instead. Guess where we’re racing? Portugal, at Estoril! There’s a new event called 12 Hours of Estoril, running on September 27. First, the roadracing scene started showing interest in Portimao, and now Estoril? Looks like it’s a great year for Portuguese roadracing fans!
Canadian Superbike surprises
The CSBK website doesn’t have the updated Pro Superbike standings posted at this point, but we’ve had a peek at them, and the results are surprising.
Four races into the season, and undefeated Jordan Szoke has 204 points on his Kawasaki ZX-10R. Guess who’s second? Samuel Guerin, on his BMW S1000RR, with 133 points. That’s great for a rookie, and certainly not something we’d have expected to see at start of the season.
And third? That’s Sebastien Tremblay, who’s been flogging his Kawasaki ZX-6R in the litrebike class. He’s sitting on 113 points.
Obviously, Trevor Daley’s inability to attend Round 2 due to COVID quarantine measures, and Ben Young and Tomas Casas skipping this year’s series have all made a big difference to the standings, but still—this is turning out to be a wild year, with a lot of twists.
There’s still no word on whether or not we’ll see another CSBK round, at this point, but we’d expect word in the next couple of weeks.