2021 WorldSBK Championship – Who’s going the place?
The 2020 WorldSBK Championship involves a conclusion in Estoril this weekend with Jonathan Rea agonisingly near securing the (three) factors he must be topped title winner for a sixth (!) season in succession
The tip of 1 season means consideration instantly turns to 2021 and who will probably be racing the place when (hopefully) we get again to a full fats calendar of 12 or 13 occasions.
We at the moment are beginning to get a clearer thought of how issues will look once they line up for the primary subsequent 12 months, although there are nonetheless some high-profile seats accessible, plus a few high-profile riders who’ve nowhere to go proper now.
Here’s a round-up of the place with the 2021 WorldSBK Championship as of writing…
5-time WorldSBK Champion Jonathan Rea will probably be staying put for the foreseeable future after signing a multi-year settlement with Kawasaki Racing, guaranteeing he’ll keep in ‘Workforce Inexperienced’ alongside Alex Lowes in what will probably be an unchanged line-up for 2021.
Nevertheless – and maybe extra excitingly – is what they are going to be using. Kawasaki has saved its lips fairly tight however KRT has been much less secretive about having a brand-new ZX-10R/RR to play with.
A radical(ish) re-think was inspired by Rea with the intention to preserve him out of the reitrement slippers, so count on an influence hike and wings to assist the brand new Ninja go head-to-head with Ducati and Honda, in addition to make stronger the privateers that this 12 months have been notably restricted by the bike’s relative age.
Mid-way by way of his present contract, Scott Redding stays on the Aruba.it Ducati however he’ll get a brand new team-mate in Michael Ruben Rinaldi, who’s now confirmed to be changing Chaz Davies for 2021.
Equally, Toprak Razgatlioglu is signed and sealed on the Pata Crescent Yamaha for 2021 and will probably be joined by Andrea Locatelli, who maybe surprisingly beat a bevy of competitors to be promoted proper up onto the manufacturing unit bike after his spectacular dominance of the WorldSSP collection.
One of many stars from the newest rounds, Garrett Gerloff – seen as having a shot on the Pata bike – will stay with the GRT Junior group however will get upgraded manufacturing unit equipment as compensation. Much less anticipated was the id of his team-mate, with Kohta Nozane – a entrance runner on the Japanese superbike scene – picked to experience alongside him.
Like Kawasaki, BMW can have a brand new machine to play with following the launch of the uprated, tech-heavy BMW M 1000 RR, which can have Tom Sykes staying on board and being joined by soon-to-be-ex Yamaha rider Michael van der Mark.
Honda hasn’t formally confirmed Alvaro Bautista – whose deal size was by no means made public – for 2021 however few count on any modifications there
In the meantime, Puccetti Kawasaki has introduced its main WorldSSP racer Lucas Mahias will step as much as Superbike, changing Xavi Fores.
Chaz Davies’ inconsistent kind on the Ducati Panigale V4 R since its introduction – relative to Alvaro Bautista and now Redding – has turfed him out of a experience following Rinaldi’s affirmation and because it stands there aren’t many apparent locations for him to go to.
It’s reported wages have been a sticking level after Ducati wished to slash them for 2021, which if true means Davies’ solely viable comparative possibility can be Honda, the only real remaining accessible manufacturing unit experience.
There’s a probability although if Honda hasn’t utterly bought itself on Leon Haslam, who has been constant and regular in the identical methods Bautista has been quick however flaky. Nevertheless, at a time when growth is transferring maybe a bit slower on the Fireblade than Honda would have preferred, there may be no-one extra stable than the veteran Englishman.
Past that we’re moving into satellite tv for pc territory, which is usually a little bit of an unknown proper as much as lights out on the first spherical.
Loris Baz appears a shoo-in to stick with Ten Kate Yamaha following a number of headline grabbing performances in 2020, but when the group is ready to supply funding to increase to 2 bikes then the likes of Davies maybe or somebody like Jonas Folger would appear logical.
Barni Racing has had a tricky 12 months swapping between riders so will probably be on a glance out for a rider that may give them the podiums they’re able to, much like Go Eleven which has flourished into a gorgeous possibility in 2020 underneath Rinaldi’s steer.
Riders with nowhere to go proper now – past Davies – embrace Eugene Laverty and Federico Caricasulo, although every can be educated picks for a BMW satellite tv for pc group if it completes a deal to deliver WordSSP dominators BARDAHL Evan Bros. to WorldSBK, the previous being a BMW rider proper now, whereas latter raced with the outfit in Supersport.
Past WorldSBK, Cal Crutchlow’s title has been talked about a number of occasions and it’s identified Honda has been chasing him for its WorldSBK seat – over Haslam or Davies – however given it is gone quiet on that entrance, it appears much less and fewer prone to be occurring now.
The 2021 WorldSBK Championship calendar
With Estoril again on the calendar unexpectedly for the primary time since 1993, there may be scope for subsequent 12 months’s calendar to look very completely different to the way it has lately.
One factor that appears sure is that there will probably be no extra February openers (boo!) as Australia’s strict and long-term view of COVID-19 means entry restrictions can be troublesome for abroad travellers. The identical is true for locations like Qatar and Argentina proper now.
As such, count on the primary draft of the season to start out in April and for it to full the primary three-quarters of the 12 months on European soil – in all probability Spanish and Portuguese targeted – earlier than tagging the aforementioned abroad races to the top of the schedule within the hope COVID-19 has, for need of a greater phrase, ‘finished one’ by then… here is hoping!