WorldSBK

Could 2020 WorldSBK season revert to mirroring the MotoGP schedule?

The 2020 WorldSBK Championship could revert to mirroring the MotoGP schedule with events held at the same venue just a week later

The 2020 WorldSBK Championship could completely shake up its schedule to bring it closer into line with the MotoGP calendar as part of efforts to get its season fully underway.

While Dorna has been communicative about its plans to belatedly start this year’s MotoGP championship with a proposed date of August at either Brno and Red Bull Ring, relatively little has been known about where WorldSBK factors into its plans.

Unlike other series’, WorldSBK did manage to get the first round of the season under its belt at Phillip Island but since then has either cancelled or postponed the following five rounds. As it stands, Donington Park is next on the schedule dated at 3-5 July but there remains scepticism over whether it can go ahead.

With Dorna planning closed door races with skeleton staff for its MotoGP rounds, it is looking into the prospect of using extensive testing for the coronavirus and the use of health certification to ease the process of travelling from country-to-country.

As such, Dorna CEO Carmelo Ezpeleta has suggested one avenue could be to align the WorldSBK schedule so that it takes place a week after the MotoGP race at the same venue. This would allow Dorna the chance to maximise the use of what is set to be an expensive infrastructure created at each circuit and focus its attentions on just a handful of venues to get to the end of the season.

“The idea is that because many of the circuits we will plan to be at for MotoGP also do Superbike races, then we will be maybe able to have a Superbike race the weekend immediately after a MotoGP race.”

How feasible is a MotoGP-WorldSBK back-to-back?

Certainly more logical than having MotoGP and WorldSBK competing on the same weekend, as had been suggested previously. That plan falls flat due to the different sponsorship and television packages both series’ have which would ever prevent them from taking place at the same time.

However, back-to-back rounds certainly make a lot more sense. Dorna will be going to a huge effort to get an infrastructure in place at each venue it visits for extensive testing and monitoring, a practice it would need to double if it was to do so by following the existing WorldSBK schedule at different locations.

Though Dorna is yet to reveal what form it expects the MotoGP calendar to take when it believes the season can formally begin, it’s entirely possible WorldSBK could find itself visiting a number of different venues than originally planned, such as Silverstone, Red Bull Ring, Le Mans, Valencia and possibly overseas to Malaysia and COTA.

Where this would leave the venues that have planned dates – for instance Donington Park, Magny-Cours and Portimao – remains to be seen, but without the prospect of revenue from ticket sales anyway, a year off may not seem so bad…

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