With only 8 races on the calendar, all taking place on European soil, this short but hard-fought Superstock 1000 championship will draw to a close at Jerez, with Leandro Mercado and Raffaele De Rosa battling it out for the title.
The Argentinian rider with the Ducati Aruba Junior team started out by winning the opening race at Aragon, while the Althea BMW team's Neapolitan rider finished the Spanish race third. In the second round, it was De Rosa who scored the win, taking advantage of Mercado's disappointing performance, ninth, and more than 26 seconds from the Italian winner.
The beautiful track of Imola hosted round three, where the Argentinian clocked up win number two, with the Italian again closing third. Then in England, at Donington Park, De Rosa and his BMW S1000RR fought back, winning the race and beating the Ducati rider by three seconds or more.
The evil deed came at Misano, during round five. Contact on the final lap saw both title fighters hit the ground, meaning zero points for the pair.
But as well as that hardship, the Althea BMW rider also received a penalty of three grid positions, to be implemented in the Lausitzring race.
At the German track, Mercado won once more, this time in the wet, while De Rosa sank, finishing tenth and far from the podium.
The penultimate race took place two weeks ago at Magny-Cours, France; it was home rider Lucas Mahias who won it on his Yamaha R1, while De Rosa managed third and Mercado just seventh; these latest results mean that in the championship standings Mercado leads with 111 points, De Rosa follows on 104, 7 points behind.
With 25 points still to assign, the final battle will play out at Jerez. If the Argentinian finishes ahead of the Italian he wins the title. De Rosa, to win the championship, will need to close ahead of Mercado, but wait... if the BMW rider were to win and the Ducati man finishes second, mathematics dictates that the latter takes the title. So De Rosa would need to win with Mercado third or lower… in this case the Neapolitan would bring the title home with a two point advantage.
That's not all: if the two riders finished with the same number of points, the Superstock Cup will again end up in Mercado's hands, because he has scored the most race wins over the course of the season. It would be a second title for the Argentinian, who already won in 2014, also with the Ducati Panigale.