World Superbike stars have their say on grid changes

Some of the World Superbikes stars have given their opinion on the race two grid shake-up with a mixed reception between riders.
Some of the World Superbikes stars have given their opinion on the race two grid shake-up which was announced earlier this week that has been given a mixed reception.

Looking to reinvigorate the second race at each round, an all-new grid will be selected from the results of race one.

While Superpole will dictate the starting order from those who finished 10th place or lower in the first race, meaning the highest placed Superpole rider outside the top nine will start in tenth, the front three rows are set for a shake-up.

The top three riders in race one will move to row three with the winner and third place reversing their positions. So, the race one winner starts race two from 9th, second place from 8th and third place from 7th.

Riders who finished in 4th, 5th and 6th will be promoted to the front row with 4th now on pole, 5th to 2nd and 6th to 3rd.

Riders who finished in 7th, 8th and 9th will start from the second row with 7th starting from 4th, 8th to 5th and 9th to 6th.

The grid mix-up is hoped to provide more dramatic and unpredictable racing, with the top three fastest riders battling up from row three, but concerns were immediately signalled that it would lower the importance of Superpole and become too much of a gimmick.

Having had time to digest the change, the initial reaction has been mixed between World Superbike riders on social media, with Chaz Davies and Nicky Hayden backing the plan.

“Personally, I'm for the changes and can't wait for my 2017 campaign,” Davies said via a mock Donald Trump-style Instagram post. “I have a great team behind me, a strong team. Myself and my running mate Marco Melandri won't build a (pit garage) wall. We probably won't be grabbing anyone by the either. Oh... and if I don't win the championship then it's probably a fix.”

Former MotoGP world champion Hayden is also supportive of the move and is happy to try something which will help boost the show element of World Superbikes.

“Looking forward to trying it,” Hayden said on Twitter. Definitely going to spice things up and give the fans a different & unpredictable race 2.”

On the other hand, both Kawasaki Racing Team riders Rea and Sykes – who claimed 10 out of the 13 Superpoles between them in 2016 – voiced their opposition to the change.

Pata Yamaha's team principal Paul Denning gave a measured response to the changes in a Facebook post, laying out his thoughts on both the pros and cons of the move and why it will benefit the whole World Superbike grid while not damaging the sporting aspect.

“The factories with the most consistent recent programmes and technical investments are doing the current winning, as is expected,” Denning said. “The best bike and rider combinations will continue to win, but the new Race 2 grid will create a bigger fight to get to the front, and a real challenge and opportunity for those on the front row to try and stay there.

“Less predictability will always increase the interest levels and this can only be positive for the series. And whether you love or hate this concept, right now WorldSBK is being talked about – and that can also only be a good thing.”

What are your thoughts on the race two grid switches? Worth a go or waste of time? Let us known in the comments section below.

Related Pictures

Click on relevant pic to enlarge
Super Bike grid, Race1, Jerez WSBK 2015
Jonathan Rea, WSBK race2,Thai WSBK 2017
Hayden,Thai WSBK 2017
Davies,Thai WSBK 2017
Hayden, Thai WSBK 2017
Caricasulo, WSS race, Thai WSBK 2017
Kraisart, WSS race, Thai WSBK 2017
Rea, WSS race, Thai WSBK 2017
Kraisart, Caricasulo and Tuuli, WSS race, Thai WSBK 2017
Kraisart, WSS race, Thai WSBK 2017
Kraisart, WSS race, Thai WSBK 2017
Tuuli, WSS race, Thai WSBK 2017
Tuuli, WSS race, Thai WSBK 2017
Caricasulo, WSS race, Thai WSBK 2017
Kyle Ryde and Okubo, WSS race, Thai WSBK 2017
Caricasulo and Kraisart, WSS race, Thai WSBK 2017
Kyle Ryde, WSS race, Thai WSBK 2017
Kyle ryde and Okubo, WSS race, Thai WSBK 2017

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December 07, 2016 12:22 PM

Posting here as the other thread crashed... Long believed that the Race 2 start order needed a shake-up but don't think this is the right way to do it... For me it would have made more sense to line up in Race 1 finish order or to use the fastest lap idea like BSB do...

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