Merry Christmas!

Another year and another season of World Superbikes has come and gone – and we’re all a year older! In motorcycle racing it’s been 12 months of the highest of highs and lowest of lows despite the racing being absolutely unbelievable.

Greg Haines writes from Barcelona

In December last year I wrote about how 2021 had quite possibly been the best WorldSBK season since it all started in 1988. Now I find myself able to write the same thing again. You could say the actual championship fight of 2022 wasn’t quite as good, simply due to the fact it didn’t go all the way down to the final round, although the overall level of the championship is higher than ever. In 2023, that level is going to get even better again – look at the names on the grid!

Sadly, what has been an incredible year was marred by an intense and very tragic last few months. I’ll never forget arriving in France on the Thursday of the Magny-Cours weekend as the news came through about the Queen passing away; things will never be the same again for our country. Mine was the first voice to be broadcast live on Eurosport on Friday morning and it was certainly a large responsibility in those incredibly unique circumstances. Unfortunately, I also witnessed the immediate aftermath of Chrissy Rouse’s accident at Donington Park BSB and was commentating live on Victor Steeman’s Supersport 300 crash at Portimao. To have lost both of them in such a short space of time as well as Victor’s mother, Flora, really was a very difficult time for everybody. I’ll definitely be taking time to think of their families and friends on Christmas Day next Sunday.

I’d like to take the chance to thank everybody at Eurosport, Cloudbass, Timeline and Tall Audio for another successful year. It’s very cliché to say but we often spend more time with our work colleagues than our own families, not least in this job, so it’s probably a good thing we get on – most of us, anyway! Special thanks from me to my co-commentators, not least James Toseland who was my first full-time partner in crime on World Superbikes since I joined Eurosport in 2017. I’ve definitely learned a lot about the riders’ mentalities. Let’s hope James has learned something from me!

In 2021, I signed off here with: ‘I wish you a very Merry Christmas and positive start to 2022. Can Toprak and Yamaha retain those titles? Time will tell!’ This year, I’d like to repeat those words but replace the final digit with a ‘3’. Oh…and we’ll have to change ‘Toprak’ and ‘Yamaha’ for ‘Bautista’ and ‘Ducati’. We’ve had three different riders on three different bikes winning the last three WorldSBK titles. Fantastic. Finally, special thanks to all of you for joining us on Eurosport and for reading Motorcycle News, where it’s a pleasure to work alongside the likes of Michael Guy and Josh Close. To every viewer and reader out there, thank you for the support.

A very Merry Christmas and a pleasant start to 2023,