British Superbikes at Oulton Park and World Superbikes at Portimao: preview

NORTHAMPTON, ENGLAND - SEPTEMBER 09: Race two winner Leon Haslam of Great Britain in action at the British Superbike Championship on the National Circuit at Silverstone on September 9, 2018 in Northampton, England. (Photo by Bryn Lennon/Getty Images)
Leon Haslam has long been favourite to take the 2018 British Superbike Championship title - even before he won all three races last time out at Silverstone Credit: Bryn Lennon/Getty Images Europe

Oulton Park in Cheshire will this weekend host the first of the three end-of-season Showdown rounds that will decide the 2018 British Superbike champion.  

The top six coming out of the final regular season round at Silverstone have all had their points levelled at 500, with the podium credits earned in the regular season added to give the totals shown below.

These six will now compete for the championship, with the remaining riders competing for the Riders Cup. Points will be gained as per usual; 25 for a win, 20 for second etc. Credits for podium places will no longer apply.

With seven races remaining, championship favourite Leon Haslam heads the field going into the showdown with 568 points (500 + 68 podium credits). His dominance was further reinforced at the Silverstone triple-header where the Derbyshire-based rider won all three races, giving him maximum podium credits.

Haslam has a 45-point lead over Jake Dixon (were it not the showdown format, Haslam would have been 148 points ahead at this point).

Glenn Irwin (Ducati) heads into the three end-of-season Showdown rounds after finishing the regular season in fourth overall  Credit: Bryn Lennon/Getty Images Europe

With a maximum 175 points available between now and the end of the season, the title could have been decided this weekend with a further two rounds to go; this is precisely what the Showdown format was designed to prevent.

With the final round in October at Brands Hatch being a triple-header, with 75 points available, we are almost guaranteed an exciting climax to the season. Haslam's trio of wins at Silverstone took him to five successive wins for the second time this season, and his total wins to 12 from 19 for the season to date.

Only Josh Brookes with three and Bradley Ray with two have more than one win to date, both of who will compete against Haslam in the showdown.

Earlier in the season it was Haslam who was dominant at Oulton Park, taking both race wins; last season he won twice from four starts at the circuit. Dixon and Glenn Irwin have been the most consistent of the remaining showdown contenders, but only have one race win between them.

While Haslam has 45-point advantage over Dixon, there is only a seven-point gap from Dixon in second to Ray in fifth, with Peter Hickman completing the showdown competitors.

Danny Buchan leads the race for the Riders Cup with 130 points, with Jason O’Halloran and Christian Iddon close behind with 129 and 128 points respectively.

2018 British Superbike Championship standings

1. Leon Haslam (JG Speedfit Kawasaki) 568 points

2. Jake Dixon (RAF Regular & Reserves Kawasaki) 523

3. Josh Brookes (McAMS Yamaha) 519

4. Glenn Irwin (Be Wiser Ducati) 519

5. Bradley Ray (Buildbase Suzuki) 516

6. Peter Hickman (Smiths Racing BMW) 504

World Superbike Championship

The WSBK series returns after a seemingly interminable ten-week summer break with round ten at the Algarve International Circuit at Portimao, Portugal.

With four rounds and a maximum of 200 points up for grabs, defending champion Jonathan Rea has a 92-point advantage over Ducati-mounted Chaz Davies in second and sems certin to take the title yet again.

Rea goes to Portugal having won the last four races before the summer break. He now has 49 race wins for Kawasaki. Only two riders, Carl Fogarty (52) and Troy Bayliss (55) - both with Ducati - have more wins with a single manufacturer.

Of the 18 races held at Portimao thus far, Rea has won five; the most of any rider. It is a similar story with regard to podium finishes, where Rea has finished in the top three on 12 occasions. 

2018 World Superbike Championship standings

1. Jonathan Rea (Kawasaki) 370 points

2. Chaz Davies (Ducati) 278

3. Michael Van Der Mark (Yamaha) 248    

4. Tom Sykes (Kawasaki) 218    

5. Marco Melandri (Ducati) 193    

6. Alex Lowes (Yamaha) 193    
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