What do the WorldSSP riders feel about the new Race 2 grid format?

Monday, 19 February 2024 07:28 GMT

In a change to the regulations for 2024, the Race 2 grid will be based on the fastest laps for each rider in Race 1 for the top nine positions

As a new era gets underway in the MOTUL FIM Superbike World Championship paddock, there’s a big rule change coming in for the WorldSSP field. Previously, the Tissot Superpole session decided the grid for both Race 1 and Race 2 but that will change this year. Now, the Friday Superpole session will determine the Race 1 line-up but how the field lines up for Race 2 will be based on the fastest laps for each rider in the Saturday race. At the Official Test for WorldSSP, riders gave their thoughts on the new format which will also see Superpole take place on Friday afternoons, with no Free Practice 2 session for the WorldSSP field.

The top nine positions on the Race 2 grid for 2024 will be based on the fastest laps set in Race 1 to allow riders to showcase their talent in different ways and to highlight outstanding performances. It potentially allows a rider who had a disappointing Friday to recover their weekend too if they set one of the top nine fastest laps in Race 1. For riders who do not achieve these, positions 10 onwards on the grid will be determined by the Tissot Superpole results.

Discussing the new rules on how the Race 2 grid will be set, Yari Montella (Barni Spark Racing Team), who was quickest during the Official Test, said: “Without FP2, I think it’ll be important to do something for Race 2, because if you crash during the Superpole, you have the chance to make a good lap time and try to start Race 2 in the first nine positions.”

WorldSSP veteran Federico Caricasulo (Motozoo ME AIR Racing), who’s changed teams for 2024, outlined a potential extra challenge as he said: “For the Superpole on Friday, I think it’s a small advantage for everyone who has everything from the year before, the same team and bike, and arrives with a good base. Maybe for us who have three days to understand where we are and how to be fast, it’ll be a little bit more difficult. For the grid for Race 2, I don’t know. The important thing is that it’s the same for everybody.”

Stefano Manzi (Pata Yamaha Ten Kate Racing) comes into 2024 as the highest-placed rider from last season, and he explained his thoughts on the new format: “At the moment, I’m not focusing on it but it’s going to be interesting. I have to be fast over a single lap in the race because I, for sure, want to start as far forward as possible in Race 2.”

Adrian Huertas ( Racing WorldSSP Team) is heading into his first season as a Ducati rider and gave a short answer about how he feels the new rules might impact him: “I think, if I do the job as I need to do, it will not be a big problem. It’s a different rule and we’ve never had this before and it’ll be fun.”

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