Alex Lowes in the Kawasaki box at the season opener in Motorland Aragon – a sensationally strong start to the season for the man from Lincoln and if he stays in Estoril this time, he is one of the top favourites as World Cup runner-up. Currently, the pressure is on the shoulders of the pursuers and certainly not on the Kawasaki duo with Rea and Lowes.

Preview of the 2nd round of the Superbike World Championship in Estoril

After the season opener in Aragon, for the first time in 4 years, Jonathan Rea is back as World Championship leader for a second round. Like team-mate Alex Lowes Scott Redding, the Northern Irishman not only has fond memories of the Circuito do Estoril. In the previous year, the six-time world champion had one of his rare crashes there in Superpole, and he promptly slipped in the second race on Sunday. Lowes even had two crashes that day and Redding also started on Saturday with bad bruises after a highsider in the morning.

A moment of shock for Scott Redding and his team – when the challenger in the title fight flew by highsider right at the beginning of the Superpole and was then unable to continue qualifying. Starting from last place on the grid, he had almost no chance in the first race.

Many favourites for the second WSBK weekend in a row
The two best drivers at the season finale last year were Toprak Razgatlioglu with two wins and Chaz Davies with one on Sunday afternoon. But this time it’s like someone pressing a reset button, the game starts all over again. After their presentation at Motorland Aragon, you absolutely have to have the Kawasaki works drivers on the bill, plus, of course, Redding, Gerloff and the drivers of the BMW and Honda works teams. Except for Sykes, all the drivers named made it into the top 6 at least once last year. However, the new M-1000RR now appears to be competitive, before the original from Huddersfield fought with blunt weapons. So there are really many favourites for the second WSBK weekend in a row, at least for a podium.

Garrett Gerloff (GRT Yamaha) as leader in the 2020 Portugal final ahead of Rinaldi (Ducati), Haslam (Honda), Rea (Kawasaki, hidden), van der Mark (Pata Yamaha), Lowes (Kawasaki) and Davies (Ducati with the number seven.

Circuito do Estoril – WorldSBK is only visiting for the fourth time

The Estoril Grand Prix Circuit near Lisbon and its history goes back to 1972 when the circuit was built. In the first few years only national races were held there. It was only after extensive modernization that, from 1984 onwards, international motorsport took part in Formula 1. In addition to Le Castellet and Barcelona, ​​the circuit was also often used for test purposes due to the mild climate, especially in the winter months. From 1996 the F1 was over again and because the requested conversion measures were not implemented, there was no comeback in the following year. The WSBK made guest appearances at the Circuito do Estoril for 1988 and 1993 and then the MotoGP from 2000 to 2012. Today the route, which has been rebuilt several times, has 13 curves, 9 of them on the right and a length of 4.182 kilometres. A first return of the WorldSBK took place in 2020 as a replacement race for other events due to the pandemic and now Portugal is again twice on the calendar. Due to the pandemic, we can temporarily save ourselves tips for visitors, which applies to the route near the Sintra Natural Park as well as to MotoGP Mugello and the previous events.

The Circuito do Estoril offers a similar layout to the Autodromo do Algarve near Portimão, but much less up and down. Curves 1, the very narrow 9 and target curve 13 are particularly tricky here.
WSBK Winner from 1988 to 2020 – the first of them has worked for Ducati for many years, first in WorldSBK as team principal and now in MotoGP as one of the many managers of the Reds.
Davide Tardozzi on the Bimota YB4 with the 5-valve Yamaha 750cc 4-cylinder in-line engine in WorldSBK as a works’ driver for the Italian chassis brand. The Italian was the first WSBK winner on September 11, 1988 in the first of two races on Sunday.

The combined schedule of Mugello MotoGP and WorldSBK Estoril

Unless otherwise mentioned, applies to all images (© WorldSBK).