It’s been over three long months since the chequered flag dropped on the 2016 World Superbike Championship in Qatar, but we are now just a couple of weeks away from the start of the 2017 season.
Though exciting at times, I think it’s fair to say that WorldSBK 2016 didn’t quite deliver the titanic championship battle we were hoping for. However, 2017 looks very much set to rectify this as a raft of changes to the grid and to the rule book could well shake-up the series.
Kawasaki’s Jonathan Rea comes into the series’ 30th season as the man to beat after storming to the 2016 title. But, Ducati’s Chaz Davies made an inspired fightback in the final half of the year and has been pegged as the Northern Irishman’s closest rival.
But could a challenge come from elsewhere? Yamaha now has the highly-rated Michael van der Mark onboard, who took the ageing CBR1000RR to fourth in the standings; Honda has signed 2011 Moto2 world champion Stefan Bradl to help Nicky Hayden spearhead the Japanese manufacturer’s assault with the brand-new Fireblade; Aprilia has upped its involvement and tied up with Shaun Muir Racing, who in turn has hired an impressive line-up in Eugene Laverty and Lorenzo Savadori. That’s not to mention Rea’s team-mate and last year’s runner-up Tom Sykes, and Ducati’s new signing Marco Melandri.
On top of that we have a new reversed grid format for Sunday’s races, which should spice up the action. And we’ve also got enthralling battles in prospect in World Supersport and European Superstock 1000, as well as the all-new World Supersport 300 series.
With so much to be excited about, Read Motorsport lists six reasons why you should be watching World Superbikes in 2017.