Major changes to 2024 WorldSBK schedule announced

The SBK Commission has decided on a number of changes to WorldSBK, including a teams’ licence and some forward-looking technical changes

Michael van der Mark leads WorldSBK pack, 2023 Spanish WorldSBK. - Gold and Goose

There are numerous changes coming to WorldSBK in 2024, from Jonathan Rea’s switch to Yamaha to Toprak Razgatlioglu’s move to BMW, but the regulatory and organisational side of the championship is also being adjusted.

A number of meetings between members of the SBK Commission - which includes WorldSBK Executive Director Gregorio Lavilla, WorldSBK Technical Director Ludovic Reignier, and FIM President Jorge Viegas among others - have resulted in numerous changes to WorldSBK that will be implemented in the upcoming 2024 season.

Some of the changes will be more visible than others, and some will make a more obvious impact than others.

One of the changes for 2024 is that “Alongside the Championships for Riders, a ‘Team Championship’ [has] been decided,” WorldSBK says. This doesn’t seem especially ‘new’, as there was a teams’ championship last year, but there is now the requirement for a team to hold a licence in order to score points in that championship.

More impactful than the new teams’ licence is that the Race 2 grid will no longer be decided by the result of the Superpole Race. Since the 10-lap sprint race was introduced for Sunday mornings in 2019, the top nine finishers have started - in finishing order - in the top nine positions for Sunday afternoon’s Race 2, with Superpole times deciding the order of riders starting outside the top nine. However, this will change in 2024, as WorldSBK somewhat follows the lead of the British Superbike Championship by deciding the Race 2 grid based on riders’ fastest lap times from Saturday’s Race 1. This has been done “In order to highlight outstanding performances,” WorldSBK says.

You’d think this would lead to a name change for the Superpole Race since it has lost its qualificative element, but this doesn’t seem to be the case.

As had been mentioned at the end of last year amid the announcement of the new minimum rider weight rule, WorldSBK will run fuel flow meters from 2025, and two bikes from each manufacturer will be fitted with one at every round of the 2024 season during practices and races to determine the fuel flow value that should be adhered to once the rule is implemented in 2025.

Further changes include a commitment to using what WorldSBK called “more precise legal language” when providing updates to disciplinary regulations. This accompanies a change to the penalty incurred if a rider exceeds the engine allocation before the first race of a race weekend, with a pit lane start in one race now replaced by a back-of-the-grid start with two long lap penalties to serve in both Race 1 and Race 2 of that weekend.

WorldSBK has also confirmed that the 40 per cent synthetic fuel that will be used by the championship’s competitors this year should be to the same specification as that used by MotoGP, which will also switch to 40 per cent non-fossil fuel in 2024.

Finally, WorldSBK has changed its weekend schedule for 2024, with a new order for the sessions across the weekend. The main change is the addition of the WorldWCR, which is the new Women’s World Championship that will run Yamaha R7 motorcycles at the European rounds of the 2024 WorldSBK season. 

Perhaps the most significant change, though, is that Superpole for all classes bar WorldSBK - meaning WorldWCR, WorldSSP, and WorldSSP300 - will take place on Friday, rather than Saturday, and each of the support categories will get only a 10-minute warm-up session on Saturday morning before their respective races. Unlike MotoGP, which discarded warm-up sessions on Sunday mornings last year for the Moto3 and Moto2 classes, the support classes in WorldSBK retain a 10-minute warm-up on Sunday in 2024.

Other than that, the World Supersport and World Supersport 300 races are now in the same place on both Saturday and Sunday: previously, WorldSSP300 would go before WorldSBK Race 1 on Saturday and WorldSSP after it and then the two would swap positions Sunday, but now the 300s will race before the main WorldSBK race on both days and the WSSP class will be the final race in the schedule on both Saturday and Sunday.
The full weekend schedule for WorldSBK 2024 is below.

The 2024 World Superbike Championship will begin next month on 23-25 February at the Phillip Island circuit in Australia.

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