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Sergei Bednaruk: Russia's WSBK debut successful

Sergei Bednaruk, commentator for Russia's first-ever World Superbike Championship (WSBK) event on the Moscow Raceway track, answers questions and shares his impressions of the racing weekend with Motonews.ru readers.

Sergei, the WSBK championship has finally come to Russia. What’s your take on the first-ever Russian WSBK round?
A WSBK round held in Russia is certainly a historical event and an important step to becoming part of international races. Six years ago, when I took my first steps as the World Superbike commentator on 7TV, a Russian round was hardly feasible. I can remember very well what WSBK’s chief promoter, Maurizio Flammini, said to me in Portimao four years ago: “We will hold a WSBK round in Russia as soon as it has a suitable track.” They kept that promise: just a month and a half after its official opening, Moscow Raceway – Russia's first track to meet global standards – hosted a WSBK round. We have to give credit to Yakhnich Motorsport for that, for this glorious event would never have become possible if not for them.

You had the honor of being the track speaker for Russia's first WSBK round at the Moscow Raceway. What was that experience like?
It really was a great honor and responsibility! I was very excited to be given the opportunity. It had been a hectic week for me: I hosted a Honda event with the Honda factory team in Tushino on Tuesday, and from Friday I was at the Moscow Raceway the whole weekend as a commentator. It was a really challenging task: for three days on end I had to not just provide commentary on what was happening, but also pique the interest of the audience and build up suspense. But when it comes to the emotions I felt, the experience I received, it definitely was worth it! And it was also nice to receive a load of positive feedback on my work; I greatly appreciate it.
Earlier this year, I acted as a track speaker at the Russian rounds of the World Series by Renault, European Truck Racing, and now I’ve added the WSBK series to my track record. This weekend (September 1-2) I’ll be a commentator at yet another world championship to be held at the Moscow Raceway: a car racing series this time, FIA GT. I’m glad the experience I’ve gained as a TV commentator and commentator at national racing events has made me eligible for major landmark races.

What do you think of the Russian round's attendance numbers?
The official number – 32,500 spectators for the whole weekend – is a very good figure. The organizers initially expected only 30,000 people. On both Friday and Saturday, the turnout was fairly low, but it was offset on Sunday when fans started arriving early in the morning, even despite the gloomy weather. I believe that in terms of the number of spectators, the round was really quite a success. For reference, the debut round in Portimao drew much fewer people, although Portugal is really more of a motorbike racing country than Russia. Although this figure may appear modest compared to the 85,000 spectators at the Renault World Series in mid-July, we should keep in mind that the Renault event was free. I’d like to believe that the World Superbike Series has a great future in Russia, and it will draw even more racing fans to the Moscow Raceway next year. For the time being, I would like to thank all the bike racing fans who turned up at the Moscow Raceway on the WSBK weekend and showed their enthusiasm, which was praised even by British commentators.

What do you think of the round’s racing results? Was the first WSBK weekend in Russia exhilarating?
I’m sure everyone liked what they saw – it was beautiful racing! We saw Maxim Kiselyov’s stunning win in the Cup of Two Nations, Vladimir Leonov’s brilliant podium in the World Supersport class, and two fascinating WSBK races. The last race was particularly dramatic, with riders competing for medals up to the very last lap. I don’t even rule out that the Russian round may become crucial to winning the championship. Due to his success at the Moscow Raceway, Marco Melandri outstripped Max Biaggi and leads in overall standings. Now, with three more rounds to go before the season ends, the BMW rider has an advantage that can become a key factor. To recap, I’d say that the debut World Superbike round in Russia was a success in terms of both racing results and organization. I’d like to once again congratulate everyone on the debut. We are finally hosting global motorcycle races!

Sergei Bednaruk was born in Moscow on February 10, 1986. He holds an engineering degree from the Moscow State University of Printing Arts. His enthusiasm for races had been building up ever since he first took an interest in racing in the first grade, and being a racing journalist became his dream long ago. As his first step towards this dream, he participated successfully in car and motorcycle sports history contests. In 2005, he started working as a racing journalist, contributing to the Avtosport magazine, and in 2006 he made his debut as a TV commentator on 7TV. He provided commentary for various racing series events, including MotoGP and WSBK. Since 2008, he has been a commentator for the prestigious DTM car racing series. Currently, he works for the TV channels AVTO Plus, Viasat Sport and Eurosport, and also contributes to various publications. In addition, he is often engaged as a track speaker and acts as a press liaison for the Motorrika Racing and Vector Racing teams.

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