FIM, the governing body for the majority of top level motorcycle racing series, has confirmed that the Russian round of the World Superbike Championship has been cancelled due to political concerns.
Unrest in neighboring Ukraine resulted in Russian intervention in the Crimea, which recently held a referendum with the aim of becoming part of the Russian Federation. In an NBC News report today, it was confirmed that Ukrainian forces would attempt to regain control of official buildings from pro-Russian militant separatists, and tensions in the region look set to rumble on.
As a result, the decision has been taken by the FIM to cancel the Russian round of the championship. Two races were set to take place at the Moscow Raceway on September 21st – over five months away.
“DWO and YMS Promotion have decided to cancel the WSBK Russian Round which was scheduled to be held at Moscow Raceway on September 21st 2014,” a statement read.
“The current political situation affects the capabilities of a number of key partner companies essential to run the event. Parties regret the decision, but are confident that the strong partnership between DWO and YMS Promotion will prevail. It is a common intention to continue with the organisation of the WSBK Russian Round in 2015 and for the remainder of the contract period up to 2021.”
The FIM is yet to confirm whether or not a new round will be introduced to replace the race.
With a number of other championships set to race in Russia throughout the year, it remains to be seen just how the political situation will affect these events. The first Russian Grand Prix to be part of the Formula 1 world championship is set to take place in October in Sochi around the winter olympic park, but there have been no comments from the FIA or the promoters regarding any possible postponement.
The Bahrain Grand Prix was cancelled back in 2011 due to political unrest in the wake of the Arab Spring. Despite some tensions surrounding the race each year, it has since gone ahead without any major problems.
Lewis Hamilton and Sebastien Vettel are the two most decorated drivers currently on the Formula 1 grid, with seven World Championships between them (four for Vettel, and three for Hamilton).
However, their paths have rarely crossed on the track, and only in 2010 did both drivers battle each for a World Championship in the same year. They also battled Fernando Alonso and Mark Webber that year, with Vettel emerging on top to claim his first World Championship.
However, the 2017 season sees Hamilton and Vettel in the two best cars on the grid, and they have gone head-to-head multiple times already this year, with each claiming two victories through the first five races. Currently, Vettel leads Hamilton 104-98 in the world championship, and the two men are developing a strong on-track rivalry.
Monaco Grand Prix coverage continues with FP3 and qualifying on Saturday. Full times are linked here.
In Friday’s NASCAR AMERICA Motorsports Special on NBCSN, we take you behind the scenes during F1 superstar Fernando Alonso’s qualifying runs for the Indy 500, including when he was on the pole for a brief period. He’ll eventually start fifth.
On Friday’s NASCAR AMERICA Motorsports Special on NBCSN, Parker Kligerman and his backseat driver, Kyle Petty, took to the iRacing simulator to make a mock run around Indianapolis Motor Speedway in preparation for Sunday’s Indianapolis 500.
They look at the challenges of IMS, as well as the challenges two-time Formula One champion Fernando Alonso will face in the first oval track race in his illustrious career. Alonso is among the favorites in the race and will take the green flag from the middle of Row 2 (fifth position).
Check out the above video.
Sunday is the biggest day of the year in motorsports, starting in the morning with Formula 1’s legendary Monaco Grand Prix.
Then, at Noon ET, it’s the 101st running of the Indianapolis 500 at Indianapolis Motor Speedway.
The final part of the tripleheader of racing is NASCAR’s longest race of the season, the 400-lap, 600-mile Coca-Cola 600 at Charlotte Motor Speedway.
Newly-named NASCAR Hall of Fame Class of 2018 inductee Ken Squier gives you a great primer for what promises to be a memorable day around the world (see video above).