WorldSBK has been struggling. No-one, not even the guys who run the show, will argue with that and lots of ideas of how to make it better have come out of the woodwork. Some have worked, some have not.
It is always arguable about what is successful. What the teams and riders want is not always what the spectators want, and that isn’t always what the TV tosspots want, so it’s a real juggle for series boss Daniel Carrera.
In 2019, Carrera has the strongest line-up the series has seen for almost a decade. As close to works teams as you can get from five manufacturers with a litany of current and former champions plus a couple of strong satellite operations too. On paper, there will never be a better time to watch WorldSBK than next season.
Of course, there will be those who will recall the heady days when Fogarty ruled the world. Yes, it was great and all that but the entry list in the 1990s wasn’t exactly a who’s who. In 1994, Foggy had Scott Russell, Aaron Slight, Doug Polen and Simon Crafar for company. Everyone else finished 150 points behind him.
The next year he mauled Troy Corser by 140 points. The next championship year for Fogarty was much closer as he beat Slight by 4.5 points and in 1999 it was back to business as usual, heading Colin Edwards home by almost 140 points. Not exactly vintage stuff.
2010 is arguably the best year in terms of manufacturers and quality riders. Biaggi, Checa, Haslam, Rea, Crutchlow, Haga, Guintoli, Toseland, Byrne, Corser, Camier, Sykes, Xaus… The Roman Emperor won it at a canter in the end but Aprilia, Honda, Suzuki, Yamaha, Ducati, Kawasaki were all involved at a high level.
Nine years later and it’s back to similar, or arguably better, times. Rea, Haslam, Lowes, van der Mark, Bautista, Davies, Sykes, Melandri, Cortese, Laverty, Camier… it should be gripping stuff. More so if Jordi Torres and Loris Baz are also able to join the mix.