World Superbikes almost here…

From the World SBK office…
World superbike racing is fast, furious and frenetic, with another island superbike scorcher coming next weekend (February 24-26) with the opening round of the 2017 MOTUL FIM Superbike World Championship at Australia’s motorcycling mecca, the thrilling Phillip Island Grand Prix Circuit.

Set to be three days of scorching WorldSBK action under a sizzling Aussie sun, tickets are on sale for the Yamaha Finance-backed round at Ticketek. Savvy fans will buy before Wednesday at 4pm (Feb 22) for the best prices; with tickets also available at the gate. For further information www.worldsbk.com.au

It’s the 27th year of WorldSBK action at Phillip Island, with racing based on a simple recipe: thrilling, cut-throat and no-holds-barred action on production-based machines that are tuned to do extraordinary things.

And Phillip Island, with the highest average speed on the WorldSBK calendar, always produces extremely close racing – some of the multi-rider battles over the years are already the stuff of legend. It’s the thrill of an awesomely fast Gardner Straight, the exhilaration of Lukey Heights, and high speed turns like Siberia, Stoner and Doohan Corner, that combine for scorching supers competition.

This year’s WorldSBK field starts with world champion and ‘part’ Aussie Jonathan Rea – he’s married to a Phillip Island girl – who will be joined by Kawasaki teammate Tom Sykes, Ducati pair Chaz Davies and Marco Melandri, Yamaha’s Michael van der Mark and Alex Lowes, Aprilia’s Eugene Laverty and Lorenzo Savadori, Honda’s Stefan Bradl and Nicky Hayden, and MV Agusta’s Leon Camier.

Melandri and Laverty are the WorldSBK comeback men, while Bradl, the 2011 Moto2 world champion and recent MotoGP campaigner will be making his debut in the production-based series on the new CBR1000RR SP2. Kawasaki is also running an up-spec ZX-10RR in 2017.

Outside of the factory combinations: there are plenty of privateers with some serious firepower as well, including BMW combination Markus Reiterberger and Jordi Torres, as well as Xavi Fores (Ducati), Randy Krummenacher (Kawasaki) and Alex de Angelis (Kawasaki).

Meanwhile, Aussie favourite Josh Brookes will also ride at Phillip Island in a one-off on the very bike – the Yamaha YZF-R1M – he won the 2015 British superbike title on.

Recent testing in Spain and Portugal shows all the WorldSBK big guns in strong form ahead of the final pre-season shakedown at Phillip Island on February 20-21.

In WorldSSP, Turkey’s world champion Kenan Sofuoglu (Kawasaki) has had an injury-interrupted pre-season, but he’ll be ready for round one action — which should be a tight-knit affair as Niki Tuuli (Yamaha), Kyle Ryde (Kawasaki), Patrick Jacobsen (MV Agusta), Jules Cluzel (Honda), Federico Caricasulo (Yamaha) and Aussie wildcard Anthony West (Yamaha). stake their claims. Caricasulo and West were second and third in the 2016 race, behind Krummenacher.

Aussies Aiden Wagner (Honda) and Lachlan Epis (Kawasaki) are also full-timer WorldSSP pilots in 2017.

There’s also packed to capacity grids for the national classes with the young guns of Australian superbike, supersport and supersport 300 all launching their 2017 championships at the island. Plus for some old boy action – a big grid of historic bikes and experienced campaigners are lining up to belt out some more great battles.

The Aussie superbike class has a spectacular line-up of talent, including Troy Herfoss, Glenn Allerton, Wayne Maxwell, Bryan Staring, Josh Waters and emerging talent like Alex Phillis, Troy Guenther and Michael Blair. Troy Bayliss’s son, 14 year old Oli Bayliss, will race in the new Supersport 300 class.

TICKETS ON TICKETEK – KIDS 15 and UNDER ARE FREE!
Purchase in advance on Ticketek and save on gate prices. A three-day general admission is $120*, saving $35 on the gate price. Single day tickets start at $30* for Friday, $65* for Saturday and $80* for Sunday, purchased in advance. Kids 15 and under are free.

Staying for a long weekend? Camp at the circuit for the most affordable, easy option with up to four nights for just $105* for an adult. Kids 15 and under are free. Bring your tent!

All information and tx go to www.worldsbk.com.au or call the Superbike Hotline 1300 728 007

About the author: Nigel Paterson

Nigel Paterson founded Cycle Torque with the financial backing of an anonymous member of the motorcycle industry back in 1999. Read the full bio.

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