World Superbike championship organisers have confirmed a radical change to its format with the expansion to three races for each round from 2019.

In the pursuit of breathing fresh excitement into the series, World Superbike will retain its Saturday race – having split its two races across each day in 2016 – while adding a new sprint race on Sunday morning.

The new race will be a shorter sprint race scheduled for Sunday morning, starting at 11:00 for European rounds, with the current two races remaining full distance races and retaining its usual start time.

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For the European rounds the schedule switch is expected to be minimal following the end of the European Superstock 1000 class which frees up race programme space, with details on flyaway races set to be released next year.

The decision comes after consultation with race circuit bosses and teams having reviewed its initial schedule shake-up of pushing race one to Saturday. WorldSBK boss Daniel Carrera says the sprint race addition will add fresh excitement to the series.

“To bring in a third ‘sprint race’ into the WorldSBK format for 2019 is something we have been planning for a long time now, so we are delighted to see the plans coming together,” Carrera said.

“We are committed to bringing exciting races to the fans year on year, and we think the addition of a sprint race will add to the WorldSBK experience.

“We are continuing to work on the final adjustments and hope to bring more details in the near future.”

The 2019 World Superbike race calendar is expected to be officially announced in the coming weeks along with further details on the three-race format and points structure for the new sprint race.