The introduction of a third race at every round of the 2019 World Superbike calendar, hasn’t been well accepted by everyone, and reigning World Superbike Champion Jonathan Rea has made public his opinion against the introduction of this so called sprint race.
For the factory supported Kawasaki Racing Team rider, World SBK has always been about two races at every round, and changing this is absolutely catastrophic
“To be honest, I find this sprint race absolutely catastrophic. To me, World Superbike is about two races every round, and changing this is changing a long standing tradition. This change is something very strange to me”, said Jonathan Rea in an interview with German newsportal SpeedWeek.
But why is the World Superbike Champion against the FIM and WSBK organizers decision to introduce this third race for the 2019 season?
The answer is pretty simple actually.
Jonathan Rea believes that the new race on Sunday morning will be very aggressive, since riders will only get 10 laps. This will create problems, with more aggressive overtaking maneuvers, and if someone crashes and destroys the bike, teams will have a lot of problems. Since 2012, a team can only have one complete built bike at the box for a rider, although they have the components for another second bike in the truck on the paddock, ready to use them if needed.
So, if a rider crashes Sunday morning and the team needs to rebuild his bike, this means they’ll have to rush to get everything done in time for the afternoon race
“In a sprint race things tend to get more aggressive and wild. What happens if I crash and destroy my bike? We definitely need to have two complete bikes in the box. I love to race, so a third race isn’t bad. Even if it’s a shorter race, we can use it as an extra practice for the Sunday afternoon race. For the fans the third race will be excellent. But to be honest, I find this absolutely catastrophic”.
World Superbike organizers are doing everything they can in their power to increase fans interest in this championship. As MotoGP audiences keep growing every season, and with more and more riders fighting for the win, World Superbike championship is going in opposite direction.
TV audiences keep on falling, fans going to watch the World Superbike races on the track are also falling, and Jonathan Rea and Kawasaki Racing Team winning so easily isn’t creating any interest in fans. So World Superbike promoters Dorna and the FIM keep on trying different things to get the fans back to WSBK.
Will these changes make any difference?