With new technical regulations set to come into effect for the 2015 season in World Superbikes, the Superbike Commission has decided to lift its customary testing ban. Instead of testing being prohibited for the months of December and January, the World Superbike and World Supersport teams will be allowed to continue testing, with only a short break over the holiday period. Testing will no be banned from 21st December 2014 to 4th January 2015.
The change was made at the request of the teams. With the technical regulations undergoing a radical overhaul for the 2015 season, the teams felt they needed a lot more testing time to identify and fix problems with the new bikes. Extracting sufficient horsepower while maintaining reliability, to comply with the limited engine allocation, had been a major concern. The extended period gives the teams a little more time to prepare for the 2015 season.
The current change has only been made for the 2015 season. With the rules set to stabilize for the future, a test ban is likely to be reinstated for the winter of 2015/2016.
You can read the text of the press release announcing the change on the FIM website (PDF document).
The rain made for a challenging set of races today, with attrition and setup playing a large part in today's races, but mostly, they'll be remembered for one symbol:
Press releases from the series organizers and World Superbike and World Supersport teams after Sunday's drama-filled races at Magny-Cours:
Jules Cluzel wore comedy windscreen wiper glasses on the grid, reminding us that this would be a race on a wet track. Like the World Superbike race, this too was reduced, to seventeen laps.
Press releases from the series organizers and the World Superbike and World Supersport teams after qualifying at Magny-Cours:
Qualifying for World Superbike's penultimate pair of races for 2014 took place today, and the French circuit of Magny-Cours, designed by the ubiquitous Hermann Tilke, had been resurfaced in places since last year, making the track a little bit quicker. Rain has been predicted as possible tomorrow, which would mean qualifying is merely an indicator of where everyone starts the race and not a prediction of pace.
Qualifying for the penultimate World Supersport race finally saw Cal Crutchlow's 2009 qualifying lap bettered.
Wild Card Lucas Mahias leads Michael van der Mark and Kenan Sofuoglu.
Press releases from the World Superbike and World Supersport teams after the first day of practice at Magny-Cours:
Crowned champion Michael van der Mark continues to be the quickest rider at Magny-Cours. Wild card Lucas Mahias was again third-quickest, only behind Van der Mark and Roberto Tamburini this session.
Michael van der Mark opened the weekend ahead of Jack Kennedy and French wild card Lucas Mahais.
Press release previews from the World Superbike organizers and teams ahead of this weekend's penultimate round at Magny-Cours:
Michael van der Mark will be moving up to the World Superbike class for the 2015 and 2016 seasons. The move had been widely expected, after the 22-year-old Dutchman had shown a very strong progression in his second World Supersport season, culminating in clinching the title with a thrilling at the last round in Jerez.
Van der Mark is to stay with the Ten Kate team, who recognized his talent early and supported him throughout his European Superstock 600 and World Supersport career, putting him on the CBR1000RR in the Pata Honda WSBK squad. Though Van der Mark will be staying with the team, his contract is now directly with Honda, rather than with Ten Kate. The deal with Honda is a three-year one, with Van der Mark aiming to make the move to MotoGP after two seasons in World Superbikes with Pata Honda.
The Dutchman will be taking the place of the departing Jonathan Rea in the Pata Honda team. Though Rea had come close to signing a deal in the MotoGP paddock, where he had several offers, the 27-year-old is to make the switch to the Kawasaki team, where he will attempt to dethrone his new teammate and World Superbike champion Tom Sykes. The second slot in the Pata Honda team will be taken by Sylvain Guintoli.
Below is the press release issued by the Pata Honda team:
Two years of World Superbike for van der Mark and Honda
To the surprise of absolutely nobody, Pirelli is to remain the official tire supplier for the World Superbike championship until at least the end of the 2018 season. The Italian brand has held the contract to supply tires to WSBK since the introduction of control tires back in 2004, and their continued involvement was widely expected. The World Superbike championship, under both Dorna and their predecessors Infront Motor Sports and FG Sport, have been very happy with the job done so far by Pirelli, and there was little reason to change.
Pirelli won the tire contract after a short tender process, but it is not believed that Pirelli had any serious competition for the role. Bridgestone has only just withdrawn from MotoGP, and is considering its involvement in motorsports; Michelin has just taken over the MotoGP contract from Bridgestone, and has its hands full; and Dunlop is focused on its role in Moto2 and Moto3, and showed little interest in expanding into World Superbikes.
The official press release appears below:
Pirelli Official Tyre Supplier for the eni FIM Superbike World Championship for the 2016-2018 seasons