Leandro Mercado (MIE Honda) was anything but enviable at the start of the season in Motorland Aragon. The fast Argentine hadn’t had a test before and was consequently absolutely without a chance, whereupon the questionable team of Midori Moriwaki withdrew from the World Cup for an indefinite period. The unfortunate Argentine is more suffering, but he was not the only unlucky person at the start of the season.

Some numbers after the first 2 rounds and before Misano

We were among the skeptics when it came to the late start of testing by BMW with the new BMW M-1000RR. Already in mid-November 2020 they had shone by being absent in glorious weather in Jerez de la Frontera, when the new Kawasaki ZX-10RR was already experiencing its baptism of fire. In spring, they were the last to be on the racetrack, shortly before the official WSBK test in Barcelona. Nevertheless, it sounded very positive at first and the fans were already starting to be happy that the misery of the blue-whites of 2020 would not be repeated. But at the third test in Aragon, the unexpected problems came promptly and with them the first setback. The season started very difficult after that, but also due to the tire lottery the first highlights came on the second day in Motorland Aragon and Estoril also brought a lot of light and shadow afterwards. However, the following statistics with the previous failures are questionable.

A BMW was already affected in a total of 3 out of five tasks officially declared as technical causes, plus only one Ducati and one Honda. At MIE Honda, however, it should be noted that the season was obviously completely unprepared, which was simply hair-raising for the very fast driver and consequently led to the premature withdrawal from the World Cup.

Why does BMW always make the same mistake?
Many fans are now asking this question again, of course. In the previous year, before the start of the season, many perky goals and expectant sayings could be heard and read about the British-German combination with a Dutchman as boss. The “rainbow press” of motorsport also celebrated good test times by Tom Sykes and his podium in Australia, as if BMW had already scored points for it. But the second season was a flop for them and neither of the two drivers made it into the top ten of the World Cup. Now they came with a new bike, were even technically favored by the FIM over Kawasaki and also have a second winning rider on the works team. In addition, two sensationally strong private pilots in the person of Folger and Laverty, but nevertheless there were already an incomprehensible number of breakdowns. Why BMW always makes the same mistake is incomprehensible and, above all, it also seems unprofessional. They have known for a long time that WorldSBK is not a children’s birthday party, and yet they hardly seem to learn from their mistakes.

Marco Melandri 2013 on the BMW S-1000RR was the Munich-based brand’s most successful driver to date when he had finished third in the World Championship the year before, behind Max Biaggi (Aprilia) and Tom Sykes (Kawasaki) with just 0.5 points less. At the end of the season in which this photo was taken, the little Italian and his teammate Chaz Davies had to look for a new team because BMW withdrew from the factory for lack of success. The return as the factory team 2ß19 was celebrated euphorically in many places, but unfortunately the breakthrough has not yet materialized.

Will Misano turn the tide or does Sykes have to hope for rain?

If you look at the only 3 podium places for BMW since 2019, two of them were won in rain races by the Englishman, who is known as a specialist in wet conditions. It wasn’t until September 28th in Magny-Cours that we saw him on site for the first and so far only time after a dry run on the podium. If you look at how strong Yamaha and Ducati are at the moment, along with the absolute industry leader Kawasaki, it will definitely be anything but easy for the blue-whites for a podium. After all, Locatelli and Rinaldi are two drivers in a works team who will drive their home race in Santamonica. In addition, in the last edition two years ago on the International Circuit Marco Simoncelli, Lowes, Razgatlioglu and Bautista (at that time on Ducati) were doing very well there. That is why we think that writing off HRC Honda too early is a mistake, and Haslam was already on the podium on the Adriatic.

Our photo after the 2nd race in June 2019, when Aruba.it Ducati ace and World Championship leader Alvaro Bautista was comforted by his team members in the Parc fermé because he was only 14th in the end after a crash in round 2. He had won the Superpole Race the morning before with an excellent result.

Various milestones await teams and drivers
The only thing that is currently considered almost certain is another anniversary for Kawasaki with currently 349 podium places, which should drop the number 350 next weekend. For Rea, the brand has stood at 149 since he drove for the Greens, so a new record is just around the corner. Just two years ago, the Northern Irishman had caught up with his former teammate Tom Sykes at Misano with 107. The man from Huddersfield has another impressive number in front of him because the BMW driver will be at the start of the first race for the 327th time in the WSBK. This means that he is still 50 short of the record for the 2-time Superbike World Champion Troy Corser. In order to crack its mark, Tom will have to stay with it until at least 2023.

WorldSBK in Misano in 2000 with Yamaha ace “Nitro Nori” Haga (Yamaha) in front of the later double winner Troy Corser (Aprilia) and with the 21 behind Troy Bayliss, who had been brought into the Ducati factory team as a replacement for Carl Fogarty. The Englishman had to end his career before that after his terrible accident in Phillip Island. For more on the earlier years of WorldSBK, see our richly illustrated history.

The long-running favorite on the Adriatic
Only Phillip Island with 61 races ahead of Assen (56) had more world championship races than Donington and Misano, each with 55. The most successful driver ever is Jonathan Rea with 8 wins and because Troy Bayliss follows P2 with six, it will be the north Irish will stay for some time, no matter how he does in round 3. With currently 99 podium places, Chaz Davies is close to an impressive number, but especially in Misano it will be anything but easy for him to reach 100 for the reasons mentioned above. Incidentally, BMW has never won at the Adriatic coast, for example Max Neukirchner won in 2008 in a Suzuki and a certain Jonathan Rea won the last triumph for Honda a year later.

Max Biaggi (Aprilia) ahead of Max Neukirchner (Suzuki) and Michel Fabrihio (Ducati) – the two drivers in the front of the picture are among the Misano winners, while the man with the 84 was allowed to do so. He tries a comeback in the WorldSSP 600 in 2021, but is currently only on the twentieth intermediate place in the world championship.

The Mugello statistics from the first race until today
The 1991 season started with a historic setback for the Ducati factory team. Back then, private driver Doug Poland from the US private team Fast by Ferracci won both races. He was to win a total of 17 races during the season and became the first “Independent Rider” world champion. It was only Jonathan Rea who managed to equalize this incredible number of victories for Kawasaki 27 years later. This exactly in the last season before the introduction of the Superpole Race, which in the following year ensured that 37 of the 39 planned races were held. As a result of the corona pandemic, the season was shortened to 8 instead of 13 events in 2020, which is why there were as many or fewer races since the sprint race as in 2018. Below is the table with the number of the WSBK run, the year, the World Championship Lap, run number, start number and name of the winner, as well as his bike and team.

7619916123Doug POLEN Ducati 888Fast by Ferracci
7719916223Doug POLEN Ducati 888Fast by Ferracci
1241993419Giancarlo FALAPPA Ducati 888Team Raymond Roche Ducati
1251993429Giancarlo FALAPPA Ducati 888Team Raymond Roche Ducati
1481994311Scott RUSSELL Kawasaki ZXR750Team Kawasaki Muzzy
1491994325Giancarlo FALAPPA Ducati 916Ducati Corse Virginio Ferrari
16819952112Mauro LUCCHIARI Ducati 916Ducati Corse Virginio Ferrari
16919952212Mauro LUCCHIARI Ducati 916Ducati Corse Virginio Ferrari
19019961111John KOCINSKI Ducati 916Ducati Corse
19119961211John KOCINSKI Ducati 916Ducati Corse
2161997217Pierfrancesco CHILI Ducati 916Gattolone Racing
2171997223John KOCINSKI Honda RC45Castrol Honda
248199861111Aaron SLIGHT Honda RC45Castrol Honda
249199862111Aaron SLIGHT Honda RC45Castrol Honda
2741999711Carl FOGARTY Ducati 996Ducati Performance
2751999721Carl FOGARTY Ducati 996Ducati Performance
3002000713Troy CORSER Aprilia RSV1000Aprilia Racing
3012000723Troy CORSER Aprilia RSV1000Aprilia Racing
32720018121Troy BAYLISS Ducati 996 RDucati Infostrada
328200182155Ben BOSTROM Ducati 996 RTeam Ducati L & M
3532002811Troy BAYLISS Ducati 998 F02Ducati Infostrada
3542002821Troy BAYLISS Ducati 998 F02Ducati Infostrada
37720037111Rubén XAUS Ducati 999 F03Fila Ducati
37820037211Rubén XAUS Ducati 999 F03Fila Ducati
39320043155Régis LACONI Ducati 999 F04Ducati Fila
3942004327Pierfrancesco CHILI Ducati 998 RSTeam PSG-1 Corse
42120056155Régis LACONI Ducati 999 F05Team Ducati Xerox
42220056255Régis LACONI Ducati 999 F05Team Ducati Xerox
44420066121Troy BAYLISS Ducati 999 F06Ducati Xerox Team
44520066288Andrew PITT Yamaha YZF R1Yamaha Motor Italia WSB Team
47120078121Troy BAYLISS Ducati 999 F07Ducati Xerox Team
47220078221Troy BAYLISS Ducati 999 F07Ducati Xerox Team
49720088176Max NEUKIRCHNER Suzuki GSX-R1000 K7Team Alstare Suzuki
498200882111Rubén XAUS Ducati 1098 RSSterilgarda Go Eleven
52520098119Ben SPIES Yamaha YZF R1Yamaha World Superbike Team
52620098265Jonathan REA Honda CBR1000RRHannspree Ten Kate Honda
5532010813Max BIAGGI Aprilia RSV4 FactoryAprilia Alitalia Racing
5542010823Max BIAGGI Aprilia RSV4 FactoryAprilia Alitalia Racing
5752011617Carlos CHECA Ducati 1098 RSAlthea Racing
5762011627Carlos CHECA Ducati 1098 RSAlthea Racing
6022012713Max BIAGGI Aprilia RSV4 FactoryAprilia Racing Team
6032012723Max BIAGGI Aprilia RSV4 FactoryAprilia Racing Team
6572014711Tom SYKES Kawasaki ZX-10RKawasaki Racing Team
6582014721Tom SYKES Kawasaki ZX-10RKawasaki Racing Team
68320158166Tom SYKES Kawasaki ZX-10RKawasaki Racing Team
68420158265Jonathan REA Kawasaki ZX-10RKawasaki Racing Team
7092016811Jonathan REA Kawasaki ZX-10RKawasaki Racing Team
7102016821Jonathan REA Kawasaki ZX-10RKawasaki Racing Team
73320177166Tom SYKES Kawasaki ZX-10RKawasaki Racing Team
73420177233Marco MELANDRI Ducati Panigale RAruba.it Ducati Racing Team
7632018911Jonathan REA Kawasaki ZX-10RRKawasaki Racing Team
7642018921Jonathan REA Kawasaki ZX-10RRKawasaki Racing Team
7882019711Jonathan REA Kawasaki ZX-10RRKawasaki Racing Team
78920197219Alvaro BautistaDucati Panigale V4RAruba.it Ducati Racing Team
7902019731Jonathan REA Kawasaki ZX-10RRKawasaki Racing Team

>WSBK Misano Preview & schedule: see separate report on this page.

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