The 2013 World Superbike Championship may be underway following the opening round of the season at Phillip Island, but unusually it has done so without the calendar being formally announced.
Question marks over the 2013 schedule have been apparent for some months, with the current 'provisional' calendar showing an available date for the 23rd June, while India has already been moved from a March slot to a season-ending November position.
However, rumours surfacing over the course of the WSBK opener have now raised doubts as to whether the Silverstone event will go ahead, with sources claiming the British venue is unwilling to pay new owner Dorna's increased sanctioning fees given it is the only circuit on the calendar that also hosts Formula 1 and MotoGP.
Similarly, Portimao – which is listed as 'subject to contract' on the calendar and has been under financial scrutiny for some time – is also under threat for the same reason.
An official announcement is mooted to come in the next few days and is tipped by Speedweek.de
to reveal that the TBA event will be canned altogether – reducing the calendar to 14 rounds – and that Silverstone will be replaced by Istanbul Park in Turkey and moved to September.
The Turkish venue has been lying dormant for the past year since losing its slot on the Formula 1 calendar for 2012, but is believed to be negotiating a return for 2013 in place of the delayed Grand Prix of America after coming under new ownership. In addition, the new owners are keen to attract WSBK to capitalise on the success of its three-time World Supersport Champion Kenan Sofuoglu.
Istanbul Park hosted MotoGP three times – in 2005, 2006 and 2007 – and won rave reviews for its challenging, high-speed layout.
Additionally, the Red Bull Ring (formerly the A1-Ring) has been mentioned as a potential late-addition to the 2013 schedule, though the Austrian venue may wait until 2014 before joining the schedule.
Not to forgotten in all the uncertainty is that many loyal WSBK fans will have already booked flights, hotels and holiday time using the dates/venues on the present version of the calendar.
As it stands, the next round of the 2013 WSBK season will take place at Motorland Aragon on April 14th.