The 25th World Superbike Championship season is kicking off the pro-racing calendar in Australia this year. They will be at Phillip Island for the opening round of the season and it looks to be a good one.
Last years champ Carlos Checa returns strong as ever on the Ducati to defend his title. He’s been at the top of the time sheets in all of pre-season testing so barring an injury (all too common with many top riders this off season) he will be once again be a contender for the crown. While many are anticipating a strong return by resurgent John Hopkins it’s Tom Sykes who’s really surprised everyone this pre-season. The Englishman has been at the top several times this pre-season and looks to have finally gotten the Kawasaki to go fast. A lot of eyes will be on him this year to see if he deserves the factory Kawasaki seat but with his performance so far he might exceed expectations and fight for the championship.
The big word this year is injuries with several top riders (Laverty, Rea, Hopkins, Haslam) having injured themselves in off season testing or recovering from injuries sustained last year, either way its a long hard rode for these guys AND they’ll be expected to perform. Add to the list Superbike rookie Chaz Davies who will miss the season opener after breaking his left radius in Q2 today, hopefully the one month break before Imola.
Expect an exciting season this year though as the riders have stepped up their game so have the manufacturers putting the equipment more on par with the rider skills. We’re looking forward to a memorable 2012 with lot’s of close racing.
We can’t forget Supersport as the class regularly puts on some of the closest racing and most daring passes. Former double champ Kenan Sofuoglu returns after a stint in Moto2 and is already back on top of the charts though this time on a Kawasaki rather than the Ten Kate Honda. Can Kawasaki emerge as the new class of the field? Honda hasn’t shown the outright domination they used to have but Sam Lowes might have something to say about that. And for us here in the States we’ll be cheering on rookie Josh Day.
Here is the rest of the WSBK schedule, don’t forget to set your DVR’s:
- Round 1: Phillip Island, Australia (Feb. 26)
- Round 2: Imola, Italy (April 1)
- Round 3: Assen, Netherlands (April 22)
- Round 4: Monza, Italy (May 6)
- Round 5: Donington Park, Great Britain (May 13)
- Round 6: Miller Motorsport Park, USA (May 28)
- Round 7: Misano, San Marino (June 10)
- Round 8: Motorland Aragon, Spain (July 1)
- Round 9: Brno, Czech Republic (July 22)
- Round 10: Silverstone, Great Britain (Aug. 5)
- Round 11: Moscow International Raceway, Russia (Aug. 26)
- Round 12: Nurburgring, Germany (Sept. 9)
- Round 13: Portimao, Portugal (Sept. 23)
- Round 14: Magny-Cours, France (Oct. 7)