So the governing body of the WSBK championship have decided that to shake up the results and make the racing a bit more of a spectacle they need to use a reverse grid system for race 2 of the weekend, What does this mean and how will it effect the front runners in the championship hopefully through this article I will be able to explain it a little.
The reverse grid is something that has been used by the British Touring car championship for many years they run a 3 race weekend where Qualifying sets the grid for race one the results of that race sets up the grid for race two, For race three however it is as follows:(taken from BTCC website)
- The grid for race three is based on finishing positions, however there is also a reversed-grid element to the starting order. Numbers representing the cars that finished from sixth to tenth position in race two are put into a bowl, and one number is drawn at random. The corresponding car will start on pole, with the cars that finished ahead of it reversed i.e. if number six is chosen, the car that finished sixth in race two will start from pole ahead of the car that finished fifth, fourth, third etc. The remainder of the grid follows as per the finishing order of race two
Fans of BTCC seem to like it they feel it makes for exciting racing mixing up the faster guys with the slower guys in a championship where it can be difficult to over take due to the cars width etc. But they also feel unsure whether something like this will work in WSBK due to the unpredictable nature of some riders on the grid while a bump from a slower driver in BTCC can be an inconvenience it can be race ending in WSBK.
So now onto the WSBK changes qualifying will still set the grid for race one as normal but as explained on the WSBK website earlier the changes will be as follows:
The formation of the grid for Race 2 will now be decided following race results from Saturday. Superpole results will continue to define starting positions for riders who finished in 10th position or lower, however the front of the grid will now be determined on Race One results.
The front three rows will be affected in the following way:
· Top three riders move back to row three and see 1st and 3rd reverse their positions.
· Riders who finished in 4th, 5th and 6th will be promoted to the front row.
· Riders who finished in 7th, 8th and 9th will start from the second row.
This news has brought on alot of reaction from around the Motorcycling world many confused as to why the changes were made in the first place stating that the championship doesnt need this to make it interesting and actually stating that to casual fans it is needlessly confusing . Current WSBK Ducati rider Chaz Davies seemed unfazed by the new rules stating that while it does hinder the faster riders they will all rise to the top anyway and it will provide a better show for the viewers at home.
Personally speaking I think it is a fun and interesting change up and should lead to some exciting racing seeing the likes of Rea, Sykes, Melandri, Davies and Bradl having to scrap and fight their way through the pack will make race two a much more interesting prospect. I do see however where some of the negative comments are coming from safety could be a factor with slower guys unsure of how the faster guys ride not knowing where a pass will be made etc, I also know that some will feel this cheapens the sport saying that they are artificially creating competition and while this is true the unfortunate facts is outside of Rea,Sykes and Davies the rest of the WSBK has not been up to their level and as such has created a bit of a dull racing weekend in some peoples view.(Not my own as J.Rea is a local boy and World Champion) .
A few other changes are also being introduced this coming year witht he addition of the World Supersport 300 championship the timing and schedules of each race weekend will be moved around accordingly.
The World Supersport championship will introduce Flag to Flag races as seen in WSBK and Moto GP meaning that in changeable conditions instead of stopping the race it will be continued but the riders will have to come in and change tyres.
Various technical changes are to be implemented into WorldSBK for 2017, and despite some only being minor it will see a large impact on the series.
FIM Superbike World Championship: Airbox regulations have been updated meaning sensors will now be allowed to change. Additionally parts of the Variable intake tract system may now be replaced for added strength, whilst retaining exactly the same functionality as the respective street bike.
FIM Supersport World Championship: In terms of technical modifications for this class updates have been brought in to allow modifications to the wheel axles, related parts and front fender mounts. These changes will mean we will see easier, safer and faster wheel changes.
Let me know what you think good change, bad change or just a change for changes sake would you have gone a different route for rule changes if so what would you have done ? Leave a comment here or let me know on twitter @weephil56