The FIM has announced a minor tweak to the World Superbike Championship qualifying format, with fewer bikes being allowed to partake in Superpole.

The 'knockout' format was well received when it debuted at the start of the 2009 season, replacing the previous single-lap method, though some complained that having 20 bikes on track during the short opening phase created traffic issues.

Coupled to the fact that there were occasionally only 21 bikes on the grid during the 2010 season - thus essentially negating the need for a Q2 session to decide who qualified for Superpole -, the FIM has confirmed only 16 riders are eligible to progress to Superpole next year.

Introduced to make things more interesting during both Q1 and Q2, the decision is likely to see some competitive riders miss the chance to qualify for Superpole altogether.

The move means the opening phase of Superpole will decide positions 13 to 16, before SP2 decides grid positions 9-12. From here, eight riders will once more go through to challenge for pole position.

Though other changes are set to be confirmed in the coming weeks, alterations to the schedule have also been announced, with the World Supersport riders having their FP1 session moved from Friday 14.00 (local time) to Friday 9.45, while the Superbike riders will be out on track for FP1 at 11.30 (local time), rather than 12.45.

The schedules for Saturday and Sunday will remain unchanged.



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