Thailand looks set to join Malaysia as the second Asian nation to host the World Superbike Championship in 2015 after rights holder and promoter, Dorna, has officially confirmed the new Chang International Circuit is located in Buriram playing host to the event for the next three years. The new event has been rumoured for some time, and with the circuit fresh from holding the annual Super GT championship in early October, winning the rights to host a WSBK round seems to be the next step.
The circuit is also aiming to bid for the rights from Dorna to host MotoGP in the near future. That will largely depending on how successful the WSBK race will be in Thailand next year. However, Thailand being on the WSBK schedule is still very much provisional, subject to safety inspection and track homologation by FIM and Dorna. Still, Dorna’s WSBK Executive Director had previously said Thailand is “99.9%” certain to be on the schedule for 2015, but today’s announcement indicates it will be held from March 20-22.
The dates mean the Buriram round will narrow the sizeable gap between the WSBK season opener held at Phillip Island in late February and the start of the European leg in April. The 2015 opening round will take place on February 20-22 in Australia. The Chang International Circuit is an all-new purpose-built venue located in the city of Buriram – around 400km north-east of the Thai capital Bangkok – and becomes the 24th new nation to feature on the WSBK calendar.
“We are pleased to announce the introduction of the Thai Round in the calendar, as a clear evidence of our goal to reach new key markets for the motorcycle industry,” said Dorna in a media release. “Over the last two years the World SBK has accomplished to be present within important regions, such as the USA, Malaysia, Australia and Qatar with successful events, and we keep working in this direction.”
Having WSBK and MotoGP races are a potentially huge deal for Dorna, and Thailand has been identified as one of the world’s key motorcycle markets and the passion for motorsport is growing too. As a measure of its potential, more than 130,000 spectators attended the inaugural event at the Chang International Circuit last month for the afore-mentioned Super GT series.
According to Dorna, all the twelve completed rounds on this year’s schedule are confirmed to continue in 2015, with Thailand and possibly two other nations – most likely Russia and Chile – stand a high chance of being included too. The Russian leg was taken off the 2014 calendar due to the political climate there earlier in the year.
A confirmed final calendar for WSBK 2015 is due to be released by Dorna on November 18th.