Preview - Kyalami

After seven years off the schedule, Kyalami makes a welcome return to the World Superbike Championship calendar this season as the series ventures into Africa once again.

Formerly a host of the South African Formula 1 Grand Prix, Kyalami was the scene for five World Superbike events between 1998 and 2002, but has since found its way back onto the calendar following a redevelopment push.

It means the circuit will be a new experience for many on the grid, with only five riders who competed in 2002 reappearing this season (if you want to guess the identity of those riders, answers are at the bottom of this article).

Less than a week after the teams packed up and ventured to the other side of the world, Noriyuki Haga and Ben Spies will resume their battle following a day of unusual circumstances at the infamous Italian Autodromo.

Coming out almost 'as you were' from Monza, Spies should have had the double, were it not for an error regarding fuel consumption. Then again, Haga would have vied for victory in race two too had he not had a close encounter with a slow-to-react bird.

It means the gap between the two riders remains fairly large at 54 points – still, with Haga refusing to consider the word 'title', you can expect their battles to resume throughout the weekend.

Still, Kyalami won't be a complete unknown for all the riders, with six factory teams (Kawasaki not included) venturing there in December for a pre-season test. On that occasion, Michel Fabrizio dominated proceedings and his return to the circuit couldn't come at a better time.

The Italian scored a fortuitous, but nonetheless deserved, maiden WSBK victory at Monza and arrives in South Africa with his confidence higher than ever. Putting him on the cusp of Spies in the title fight, Fabrizio has a fine opportunity to add to that victory tally.

Over in the British quarter, Leon Haslam and Tom Sykes currently round out the top five positions in the overall standings, although both enjoyed differing fortunes at Monza.

Related Pictures

Click on relevant pic to enlarge
The Kyalami weather was good for the Superbikes.
Sykes, sliding, Australian WSBK, 2017
VD Mark, Australian WSBK, 2017
Bradl, Australian WSBK, 2017
Davies, Australian WSBK, 2017
Hayden, Australian WSBK, 2017
Rea, Australian WSBK, 2017
Reiterberger, Australian WSBK, 2017
VD Mark, Australian WSBK, 2017
Ramos, Australian WSBK, 2017
Alex Lowes, Australian WSBK, 2017
Sykes, Australian WSBK, 2017
Sykes, sliding, Australian WSBK, 2017
VD Mark, Australian WSBK, 2017
VD Mark, Australian WSBK, 2017
Fores, Australian WSBK, 2017
De Angelis, Australian WSBK, 2017
Alex Lowes, Australian WSBK, 2017

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