Many people thought the idea of running one WorldSBK race on Saturdays and one on Sundays, rather than the traditional two on Sunday, was at best a gamble and at worst a bad idea. Dividing and self-conquering, said some.
Now it seems that there will be three WorldSBK races per weekend in 2019. Proposals Dorna put to the teams away from the public gaze at Magny-Cours included one regular WorldSBK race on Saturday, then a short sprint race – potentially a kind of mix of qualifying for the second race and maybe points for some the first few riders – early on Sunday, and then a longer normal race on Sunday afternoon.
No pit stops for that final race it seems. It was discussed but there was a pretty solid rejection of it, even though there was an exciting PI race in that format (by necessity) this year. World Endurance racing does, after all, already exist for that kind of pitlane frisson.
Some will love the idea of three-races-a-weekend, even if they are not all the same as each other, some won’t, but for sure the events in 2019 will be more weighted towards a bigger, more climactic, Sunday. The host circuits will insist on it, it seems, as they need to have that one big final day of action to heighten anticipation make sure there is a bigger crowd – and therefore more atmosphere – on Sundays.
There will maybe be less practice on Fridays to ensure that there will be no sharp increase in kilometres spent on track, to keep the same number of engines required over a season, and control costs.
Two heat races for the oversubscribed WorldSSP300 class, to qualify for a final championship race, are maybe also on the way, due to the series’ popularity. There may still only be one WorldSSP race per weekend.
More discussions and decisions are expected at the next round in Argentina.