With the new SBK the first will be 'last'

The partial reversal of the grid for 2017 only raises doubts and may not resolve anything


The rider who finishes first will start last (or rather 9th) - it's not a saying but the new SBK regulation. A championship that, while waiting to find direction, is being led by a blind man. This doesn't necessarily mean it's taking the wrong path, but it does make it rather difficult to find.

The reversal of the starting grid is nothing new, some of the car racing series (including the DTM) uses this and even Ecclestone proposed it for Formula 1 at the start of the year. The system has a simple goal - to prevent a few from dominating and to mix things up a little, or at least to try.

This year's figures only confirm the fact that this year's SBK has been monopolised by a small number of riders: over 26 races there have been four different winners, with Hayden winning only once. This means that the highest step of the rostrum has been monopolised by three rider (all Brits by the way): Rea with 9 wins, Davies with 11 and Sykes with 5.

This is not the best business card (even without comparing the situation to MotoGP) for a category that is already navigating choppy waters in terms of media coverage and spectator figures.

The new regulation, at least on paper, might not be so bad. A little like splitting the races between Saturday and Sunday, a change that the teams and riders appreciated a lot more than those buying tickets.

The reversal of the grid for Race 2 is in the same vein, but raises many doubts. Also for the way it is formulated, with the podium sitters starting from row three, while the front row will be occupied by those finishing 4th to 6th and the second row by those fro 7th to 9th (further details HERE). It's already rather difficult to explain to the fans, let alone those occasional spectators and that's never a good sign, because it makes it all more incomprehensible.

Furthermore, the 'half' reversal could create other problems. Let's imagine a hypothetical battle in Race 1 for the final podium position: is it better to score 3 more points and start from row 3 or play a tactical game and give up those three points to take advantage of pole position?

The riders are well aware of these things, even in the most fraught of race situations.

This is only the tip of the iceberg that could see the popularity of the SBK sink to a new low. As if just a few metres would be enough to allow other riders to win or create a better show. We've all seen how, when one of the strongest riders suffers in qualifying or receives some sort of penalty, he will inevitably recover in the race. This is because the fastest riders also ride the fastest bikes and this combination does the job - it's not a written rule, but is generally valid.

The SBK won't be revitalised with these small changes to Sunday's schedule, it would make more sense to invest in the championship, attracting riders and sponsors and making the whole scene a more professional one.

Essentially, by making a long-term plan that demonstrates the continuing importance of the series. Otherwise, it all comes down to games that are unlikely to draw a crowd, rather like the results.


Translated by Heather Watson

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