WorldSBK chief Lavilla explains latest calendar changes

| | WorldSBK
Picture: GeeBee Images

WorldSBK sporting director Greg Lavilla has been involved in some tough decisions as the series moves through the coronavirus pandemic.

Here is what he said about the Imola cancellation and other calendar changes:

Six of the first seven rounds have been postponed or cancelled, what is currently the ideal situation?

Firstly, we regret to announce about Imola being cancelled. Plan A was the most ideal, where we ran all remaining rounds but every day that passes goes against our program and we have to understand that to compress the season to a difficult extreme is not possible.

So, by now the focus is to run the maximum number of remaining rounds possible in a difficult but acceptable condition in terms of organisation to all parts involved. We want the fans to enjoy a full season of fantastic racing.

Despite rescheduled rounds, Imola is cancelled. Can you explain why?

Unfortunately, we had to announce the cancellation of the Italian Round due to the continuous COVID-19 situation. Also, with the already complex calendar forecasted today and the weather situation we may face going even later in the year, we agreed with the circuit that it is better to cancel.

However, the Italian fans will now get to see the grand finale to the 2020 season as the Misano World Circuit “Marco Simoncelli” will be the last round of the season in November. This ensures that the WorldSBK experience comes to Italy and that the fans can still enjoy the climax of the season in exciting fashion.

How will a tighter Championship make fans enjoy the racing more?

“It will make the Championship very easy to follow this year. We do not have the long summer break and for the first time in WorldSBK history, we have a triple header. That means more action in a shorter amount of time, so the interest in our Championship from the media and the fans will continue to grow strongly as the season reaches its climax, whilst also giving the teams and riders a new challenge too.”

Amidst the situation which unpredictable, racing in summer looks likely: what are the positives?

“Firstly, it is a period of time that should see good weather and a time where they are enjoying their holidays. Across Europe, fans will be able to enjoy their time at the rounds, as the Championship will flow more naturally in accordance to the general holidays of many people globally. One of the main positives already is that the Dutch fans are very happy that Assen will be in August, so the summer looks set to bring close action to large crowds.

How are the teams and riders dealing with the rescheduling and the COVID-19 situation?

“It is hard for the teams, riders and everyone involved in the paddock, but I would like to extend my gratitude to all teams and riders in all classes; this isn’t an easy time for anyone, but they’ve dealt with it very well. They have taken their own initiatives and responsibilities and also spread positive messages; they are a huge credit to our paddock.”

What can change from here?

It all depends when we can restart; there is a point where it will not be possible to move the calendar anymore and we will have to consider cancellations as the only possible option. I want to be clear that the situation once when we restart, could face difficulties in our job but I think this is the worst scenario.

My day by day focus is mainly keep everyone supporting our program and help everyone involved as much as possible. This are not easy times for anyone but everyone in the company is giving their best to achieve the best outcome. We are working tirelessly as well together with government officials, the FIM, and circuits to make sure that when the racing returns, it is suitable and safe for everyone. This is our priority and will come first.

This whole situation is not ideal, but we are one of the only major motorsport World Championships to start, along with Moto2 and Moto3. Given how close the first WorldSBK round was, the racing will be spectacular for the racing season when we resume.