Johann Zarco on the Ducati Panigale V4 in Jerez – the fast Frenchman was already there and now other Ducati riders are also coming to a private test on the track in Andalusia (© MotoGP).

After the expected Sepang cancellation, Ducati is now testing privately

As our readers have known since November, neither overseas races in April nor tests in Sepang in February were to be expected. We were the only portal to declare the planning of FIM and Dorna untenable, immediately after the official announcement on November 5, 2020. We had already pointed out then that the MotoGP would probably have to test in Jerez de la Frontera and at the Autodromo do Algarve in Portugal. It has just been officially announced that Ducati will be launching a private test in Andalusia from February 10th to 11th.

Johann Zarco at the Circuito de Jerez – we have named him one of the most important co-favorites for the 2021 season, will he soon agree with us? (© MotoGP).

No more advantage for KTM as at the beginning of the 2020 season

We still remember well when, in the middle of the first lockdown, KTM benefited from its privileges as a “concession team”. At that time Austria was the first country to lift its lockdown and the oranges were able to test diligently much earlier than the competition. The result is well known, only KTM could handle the new Michelin tires from the start and benefited enormously from their advantages in Brno, Spielberg and Misano. This time, however, the tires remain the same and the most important thing is that the drivers can drive laps to shake off the winter rust.

Maverick Viñales on a Yamaha YZF-R1 during the pre-tests at the Autodromo do Algarve near the coastal city of Portimão, shortly before the French GP at the official pre-tests. Like Ducati, Honda and Suzuki, the Japanese brand has very competitive superbikes available, with which the riders were only a little slower on the difficult track than with their MotoGP rockets (© MotoGP).

The advantage for Ducati’s riders with their Panigale V4 missiles
This is allowed with superbikes and Ducati has a huge advantage over KTM. As you could see in Portimão last year, the KTM pilots rode on third-party makes. This for the simple reason that not even the Superduke from KTM is even remotely comparable to a real superbike. After all, Pol Espargaró’s Honda wasn’t painted orange back then. With their MotoGP Replica Panigale V4R and V4S, the Italians, unlike the Austrians, of course have heavenly conditions for their drivers.

This is by no means a photomontage or it was only photographed after the 2020 season – Pol Espargaró in KTM leather on a Honda CBR-1000RR-R. Embarrassingly, KTM doesn’t have a bike that can be driven anywhere near as fast as the brand new Fireblade from the competition. Side note: We have a KTM in our garage. But a sports tourer, not that we are misunderstood as supposed opponents of the oranges, although we definitely cannot say anything good about many of their dealers (© MotoGP).

On February 10th and 11th the Ducatis will roar on the Circuito de Jerez

The 3 Ducati rookies of the premier class Enea Bastianini (Avintia Esponsorama), team-mate Luca Marini (SKY VR46 Avintia) and Jorge Martin from Pramac Racing are preparing for the coming season in Andalusia. Factory team member Jack Miller and his old and new team colleague Francesco Bagnaia join the new Ducati team members. Of course, Johann Zarco from Pramac Racing will also be there and like everyone else, he will ride Panigale V4 Superbikes. Ducati’s test rider Michele Pirro will also be on the track. The Italian rides the GP21 in Andalusia after having ridden Jerez on Ducati with Zarco on the Superbike in January. Incidentally, the KTM home track will be 4 degrees Celsius next week and there is currently snow in Zeltweg too. For Jerez, it may still look like rain on the 10th and dry the next day, but at least 16 to 17 degrees Celsius.

Johann Zarco in front of his exercise machine, which offers a MotoGP rider significant advantages over a home trainer and plays an excellent part in good preparation for the season (© MotoGP).

The revised provisional calendar with many question marks

Let’s assume that the tests in Qatar will take place as planned in March, if a double race should start there afterwards. As we predicted at the beginning of November, we will then continue in Portimão. But only if the second edition of the revised provisional calendar by FIM and Dorna can actually be implemented. Especially for the overseas races, many have now understood that we were not completely wrong with our forecasts 3 months ago.

Our recording during the Moto2 race on the Losail International Circuit. This was created in March 2019, a year before Covid-19 emptied the grandstands. A little later we flew on to BuriRam in Thailand, where the WorldSBK was a guest for perhaps the last time forever. For the MotoGP event in October 2021, we booked a hotel room that can be canceled free of charge and even the domestic flights, but everything under the aspect that we actually don’t believe that it will be carried out ourselves.

All events currently only with reservation
Not a single race is absolutely guaranteed for MotoGP or WorldSBK at the moment, and the best indication of this is the advance ticket sales. Currently, this is only possible for the Austrian GP in Spielberg, which may have a questionable background. The apparently short-sighted Chancellor Kurz (in English = short) from the Alpine republic only recently publicly claimed that the corona pandemic would be under control in the summer. Obviously his constituents drove him to this act of desperation, if you look at what has been going on in his country lately in this regard.