WSB Is About To Kick Off. Are You Ready For The 2013 Season?
Last year’s World SuperBike (WSB) championship is now becoming a memory. 14 rounds took place over 3 contents in 11 countries. Teams, racers and bikes traveled thousands of miles to crown one winner, Max Biaggi. Max took his second title in WSB for Aprilia at the final round of the season. He lifted the trophy in front of the French fans at Magny Cours in October.
As the teams put the finishing touches to their machines, race circuits prepare for a season of racing, the riders are working on every aspect of fitness and we -the fans- sit waiting in anticipation. So before the new season kicks off, who is going where and what can we expect?
Ducati are introducing the new Panigale 1199 to the WSB stage. Whilst the bike has been off the pace in winter testing, it would be hard to believe that the Bologna factory haven’t been working hard with the bike to take the steps needed to compete this year. 2011 World Champion Carlos Checa will be riding the new bike with last year’s team mate Ayrton Badovini. With the first race being held in Phillip Island in February, you have to believe that Ducati have a strong chance of kicking off the season with a double win.
Aprilia are wheeling out the same bike that took the title in 2010 and 2012, well, it will look the same. I am sure that whatever is underneath the fairing of the RSV4 isn’t the same. Eugene Laverty will be on the bike for his second season and will be joined by his new team mate Sylvain Guintoli. No Max in 2013 as he has decided to retire as World Superbike Champion.
BMW I believe have the strongest package this year. The BMW S1000RR has been developed over the past few years. In 2012 it was consistently on the podium, when it wasn’t in the gravel! I think BMW have a strong rider line up with Marco Melandri starting his second season on the bike, riding for the Italian team and Chaz Davies joining the them after a strong year on a satellite Aprilia in 2012.
Kawasaki also have a very good chance of taking the championship this year. It’s not often we remember who took second in the championship, however, for British and Tom Sykes fans it would be hard to forget. Tom had his strongest season yet in WSB last year and almost took the title from Max. In 2013 Tom remains with Kawasaki and will be joined by Loris Baz who rode well last year when he stood in for injured Joan Lascorz. Title contenders for sure.
Honda, Honda, Honda. The current version of the CBR1000RR maybe past its best now, don’ get me wrong, it’s a fantastic bike and beautifully made as Honda’s often are. However, I don’t feel the bike will do justice to the two British men who will race them this year. I think bothJonathan Rea and ex BMW rider Leon Haslam will have a tough job to consistently find the podium .
The last ‘big hitter’ for 2012, Suzuki. Susuki will contend the championship with Fixi Crescent Suzuki, the team will be back with Leon Camier and new boy Jules Cluzel. The team are a well established team and know what they need to do to win a championships, the GSXR1000for one reason or another hasn’t been up to the task. Is 2013 this the year that the bike and team can pull it together? The jourey is still out.
Yamaha don’t have a WSB entry in 2o13. Its a shame to see the 2010 world champions not contending the championship, if romours are to be believed they will return with Sam Lowes in 2014 and a new three cylinder Yamaha YZF R1.
Over the past few years we have become accustom to fairing bashing, almost impossible moves, edge of the seat racing and on and off track clashes. The 2013 World Superbike season has a lot to live up to.
Now it’s time to look forward and a new season is only weeks away. The race to become champion will kick off in Australia at Phillip Island on the 24th February and a further 14 rounds of racing are to follow. This year we will go back to Russia, return to Laguna Seca and visit India for the first time.
If you haven’t been to a World Superbike race before, go, take the family, go with friends, hell, take me.
By Alexander Baylis - WSB correspondent for RTR Sports Marketing In the pictures Max Biaggi, Tom Sykes, Carlos Checa Pictures from the web