Our photo on Saturday in front of the WorldSBK 2020 Superpole by Phillip Island – with the coast in the background one of the most beautiful and breathtaking racetracks in the world. The start of a hopefully much more exciting season will take place again next season than in the previous two years. With some spectacular changes from Toprak to BMW and record world champion Johnny Rea in his place in Yamaha, a lot of attention will be taken at the start of 2024 in February.

After changes to the regulations, now an exemplary WSBK calendar 2024

The WorldSBK calendar, which has been greatly improved compared to the past, is currently still provisional. With two new routes on the calendar, in addition to Cremona, Hungary could also have a chance again with the new Balatonring. Overseas events such as Argentina and Indonesia will sensibly be avoided this time, with the exception of Phillip Island (Australia). This will significantly reduce the burden on the WorldSBK and WSSP teams in particular when it comes to the immense travel costs to South America. Mandalika in Indonesia could have been combined with Australia, but at least MotoGP remains there, as with the Termas de Rio Hondo event in Argentina. After the long-overdue announcements about the changes to the regulations, including the extremely important introduction of a minimum weight that will also apply in the WSBK from 2024, one can only praise the calendar design in particular.

Numerous improvements over previous years

In addition to optimizations to relieve the strain on team budgets, the new schedule for the Superbike World Championship for next season also brings a much more balanced distribution in the calendar compared to previous years. The long summer break is finally over and fans only have to miss out on a racing weekend in May. As a precaution, we have already booked for all events for the coming season and are excited to see whether we will once again be the only German-speaking reporters in Phillip Island, like in 2020. Back then, we gave the nice people in the press office Swiss chocolate that we had freshly bought in Europe before our outbound flight. We are really looking forward to returning to one of the most beautiful racetracks on the planet, even if we weren’t very impressed with the accommodation and food in Cowes back then.

The new race track in the calendar in Italy, the Cremona Circuit north of Parma and in the southwest of Lake Garda. A course that is only 3.702 km long and is driven in a counterclockwise direction with 13 curves and, at the top right of the picture, the start-finish straight, which is only 353 meters long. The longest straight at the bottom of the picture measures 900 m and with 6 right and 7 left turns the distribution is very balanced (© cremonacircuit.it).

A return to roots with an event in Hungary

From the introduction of the Superbike World Championship in 1988, the production-based premier class was held at the Hungaroring near Budapest for the first three years. Just not far from the newly built route in Hungary, which is not far from the northeastern shore of Lake Balaton. The opening only took place in May 2023 and the circuit is listed as a reserve track in the MotoGP calendar for next season. Austrian fans should be very happy about this because at two and a quarter hours from Vienna the journey is not much further than from the federal capital to the Red Bull Ring in Spielberg. Above all, this course, like Cremona, is much more technical and varied than the Austrian route. We simply warn against staying in the Hungarian capital Budapest, which is characterized by mafia-like machinations in some restaurants. Once a cheeky waiter who tried to rip us off as tourists with a fraudulent bill almost lost some of his teeth. He followed us back when we only paid what we thought was right and it was only with difficulty that we controlled ourselves not to give him a well-deserved lesson for it.

A shot of the Balaton Park Circuit with Lake Balaton in the background, which is only a few meters deep in many places. Subject to homologation, Hungary will return to the calendar of the Superbike World Championship as one of the event countries for the first WSBK years. With a length of 4.115 kilometers, six right-handers and 10 left-handers, as well as only short straights compared to most other courses, a welcome change for WorldSBK (© Márton Kálmán).

In addition to Argentina and Indonesia – foregoing the return to Imola

The traditional route in Emilia Romagna, which is extremely dangerous and urgently in need of renovation, was definitely suitable for record world champion Rea, but the cancellation of the event in Imola should not represent a loss for the spectators. Together with Misano, the Italian organizers increased the prices from 2019 onwards to such an extent that it wasn’t just our hair that stood on end. Compared to Jerez or Assen, the prices at Misano, Imola and now Most are simply an insult to the interested fans. In this respect, we are very excited to see how things will behave in Cremona, assuming the route is even homologated in time. With the event dates for this event, FIM and Dorna have definitely hit the bull’s eye for the three Spanish rounds of WorldSBK and have finally ensured that there is no racing in the scorching heat of midsummer in southern Europe.

Atmospheric photo taken by us on June 13, 2015 in Montmeló near Barcelona on the MotoGP weekend of this season. The weather will ultimately decide whether the second-to-last weekend in March 2024 is a good choice for a WorldSBK event at the Circuito de Cataluña. In any case, we suffered from very low temperatures on the Costa Brava once in May.

Unless otherwise stated, this applies to all images (© WorldSBK).