The shape and size of the WorldSBK calendar, completely shaded by the much bigger MotoGP championship’s presence, is a constant focus for the part of Dorna tasked with running WorldSBK.
WorldSBK is also limited in its potential expansion by the teams having no desire to increase the number of long-haul races in a season from the current five (PI, Buriram, Laguna Seca, Argentina and Qatar) for financial and logistical reasons. Despite this, if one or more of the long-hauls were canned, there are still possible new territories in Asia.
“We are working with a project in China, at Ningbo, which opened last year,” said Executive Director, Dani Carrera. “It is quite a big city, three hours from Shanghai. We have researched a proposal to start in 2019. In India, the situation is that we have finally terminated the contract. In Japan, we had a request from Autopolis, which is a racetrack owned by Kawasaki. The FIM went there for an inspection, but important works are required.
“We do not want to increase the number of rounds a lot because we know the financial aspect for the teams so we want to have around 13 or 14 rounds,” he continued. “We have an agreement with the teams that if we have another overseas round it is because someone else will not continue. The target is to be present in Asia, we do not need two events.”
With so much in WorldSBK revolving around money, and the lack of it compared to the pre-recession years, there was a simple question for Dorna to answer. Does the company make money from WorldSBK?
“Since we started six years ago we have had positive economical results, from 2013, each season,” said Carrera, before a telling final comment. “This was not happening in the past.”
By Gordon Ritchie