News 4 Feb 2010

BSB: Complete revamp revealed for British Superbikes

The British Superbike Championship will undergo a host of changes for this season, the most successful motorsport series in the UK looking to continue its rise for the new year with a completely revamped series structure that splits the season into two parts.

Aussie Josh Brookes will enter BSB 2010 as a title favourite.

Aussie Josh Brookes will enter BSB 2010 as a title favourite.

The British Superbike Championship will undergo a host of changes for this season, the most successful motorsport series in the UK looking to continue its rise for the new year.

During 2009, 368,000 people attended BSB events across the country and 8,000,000 fans watched 310 hours of television on the live Eurosport and delayed ITV coverage.

For 2010 MSV is now going to increase the appeal of BSB even more with some exciting rule changes designed to keep fans captivated right to the very end of the championship with a dramatic title battle finale.

The new regulations have been developed after careful consultation by MSV with both the BSB manufacturers and teams to gather all key opinions and were then submitted to the governing body, MCRCB, for approval.

A new format and points scoring system will virtually guarantee that the title will go down to the wire and create a new, thrilling spectacle for television and trackside audiences.

The championship will be divided into two parts. The first nine events form the Main Season, with the standard points scoring format of 25 for a win, then 20, 16, 13, 11, 10, 9, 8, 7, 6, 5, 4, 3, 2, 1 awarded for each of the nineteen races from the nine events.

From their total points at the end of the Main Season, all riders then drop their two worst scores, which must be from events they have at least qualified for.

From this points order, the first six riders in the championship standings will be elevated to a new base level and become the Title Fighters for the final three events and seven races of the championship.

Each Title Fighter will start The Showdown with 500 points, plus additional points for each podium position they have obtained in the Main Season; 3 for a win, 2 for a second, and 1 for a third. These are termed Podium Credits. For example, a rider placed in the top six of the standings at the end of the Main Season who scored three wins, two seconds and a third would start The Showdown phase with 514 points.

The standard points scoring format from the Main Season then continues for The Showdown, with all points scores from the final seven races counting.

All riders outside of the Title Fighters continue to race for the BSB Riders’ Cup, continuing to add to their points total from the end of the Main Season. This also applies to the new BSB EVO class.

The central concept of the new rule is that there should be a crescendo of competition towards the end of the championship to minimise the chances of anyone securing the title before the final event of the year. It was also critical that the method of achieving this should be absolutely fair to all competitors and simple to understand.

The Main Season will span the first nine rounds before The Showdown will be contested over the final three rounds at Croft, Silverstone Arena GP and Oulton Park to round out the season.

BSB qualifying takes on a new look too, with the popular Formula 1-style “knockout” Swan Combi Roll for Pole remaining, but now just setting the grid for BSB race one only.

As per last year, all riders first take to the track for Q1 over 20 minutes, before the field is then whittled down to 20 riders in Q2 over 12 minutes, and then the final 8 minutes shoot-out for pole position by the top 10 riders in Q3.

The major shake up comes for race two as the best lap times in the opening race set the grid for race two. This will give a greater reward to riders making a charge through the field, perhaps as a result of a bad qualifying performance or a bad start. Significantly all the riders will be on race rubber, rather than softer tyres that favour certain qualifying specialists.

The new qualifying regulations are sensitive to riders who unfortunately suffer a crash or mechanical failure before the end of the first lap in race one. Their bad fortune is not compounded further as the rider can line up for race two in their race one starting grid position plus eight “penalty places”, emphasising the necessity for a good initial qualifying position. As an example, if the rider in pole position for race one crashed on the first lap and was unable to continue, he would start race two from position nine on the third row of the grid.

At the three-race BSB meetings, the procedure follows on to the best lap times set in race two establishing the grid for race three. Similarly those riders who don’t complete a single lap in race two get to start race three in their race two starting position plus eight “penalty places.”

As a result, BSB race weekends now take on exciting, additional elements that will create new talking points and test the tactical skills of the riders and the teams. Drama is assured from the first qualifying session at the first event until the chequered flag falls on the final lap of the final round.

Brands Hatch hosts the opening round of the 2010 MCE Insurance British Superbike Championship on Easter weekend 3-5 April.