2020 WorldSBK calendar revealed with Laguna Seca, Buriram axed

The 2020 WorldSBK features a more European-centered calendar with only three flyaway races and the axing of rounds in Thailand and the USA

WorldSBK Start Field Line-up

The 2020 WorldSBK calendar has been formally revealed with confirmation the US and Thailand rounds at Laguna Seca and the Chang International Circuit have been axed in favour of two new European rounds.

As previously announced, WorldSBK will add a third Spanish event to the calendar with the Circuit de Catalunya in Barcelona included for the first time, while the series returns to Germany too but does so at the Oschersleben circuit instead.

Meaning at least two current events would be dropped to make way for the new additions, this is now confirmed as the US round in Laguna Seca – which returned to the calendar in 2013 – and Buriram, a new addition in 2015.

As ever, the 2020 WorldSBK season kicks off at the end of February at Phillip Island with Losail moving from its season-ending slot to take up Thailand’s second round position on March 13-15. Interestingly, it means the floodlit Qatar WorldSBK round is just a week after the 2020 MotoGP curtain raiser at the same venue.

The first European round of 2020 will now be in Jerez, which essentially swaps positions with Motorland Aragon on the schedule, followed by Assen and Imola.

After Aragon, WorldSBK heads to Donington Park for the annual UK round, with Oschersleben slotting into an early August spot. Crucially, with Portimao occurring at the beginning of September, the summer break – which was seven weeks long in 2019 – has been reduced to just a month.

Barcelona and Magny-Cours mark the final European rounds of the year, with Argentina getting the nod for the season finale at the San Juan Villicum circuit, despite significant criticism of the track quality this year.

No US WorldSBK round for first time since 2007

Though it hasn’t always attracted the largest crowds for a market of its size, the US is still a huge market for WorldSBK’s participating manufacturers.

Indeed, it’s no coincidence Ducati chose to reveal a special edition ‘916’ version at this year's event, while the 2020 Yamaha R1 was also premiered to coincide with the race weekend. Looking forward, there will even be an American rider in the form of Garrett Gerloff on the grid in 2020.

Unfortunately, at a time of cutting costs there will be no US round on the WorldSBK grid for the first time since 2007 prior to the nation’s return via the unloved Miller Motorsports Park before Laguna Seca returned.

At the opposite end of the scale, Buriram in Thailand has been the best-attended WorldSBK event since it debuted in 2015 as part of a wider plan to expand the series’ international interests. However, after its traditional slot was assumed by its shift to an earlier date slot in MotoGP, few were expecting to see it included on the 2020 WorldSBK calendar.

As such, the 2020 WorldSBK calendar gets back to its Eurozone roots with only three events outside of the mainland – Australia, Qatar and Argentina.

Some may roll eyes at Dorna adding yet another Spanish event, with Barcelona joining Aragon and Jerez on the 13-round schedule, but Oschersleben is expected to deliver better racing than Lausitzring.

Moreover, the decision to tighten up the summer break to reduce it by a massive three weeks will be roundly welcomed given the dip in momentum (and interest) it causes annually.

Also notable is the Qatar WorldSBK event taking place a week after the MotoGP season opener, most likely in an effort to attract people to stay in the region, and the decision to award the season-ending event to Argentina considering the condemnation the poor quality surface attracted this year.

2020 WorldSBK Calendar in full

2020 WorldSBK Calendar
128 Feb - 1 MarchPhillip IslandAustralia
213-15 MarchLosilQatar
327-29 MarchJerezSpain
417-19 AprilAssenNetherlands
58-10 MayImolaItaly
622-24 MayMotorland AragonSpain
712-14 JuneMisanoItaly
83-5 JulyDonington ParkUK
931 July - 2 AugOscherslebenGermany
104-6 SeptemberPortimaoPortugal
1118 - 20 SeptemberCircuit de CatalunyaSpain
1225-27 SeptemberMagny-CoursFrance
139-11 OctoberSan Juan VillicumArgentina