Phillip Öttl (Kawasaki ZX-6R) – Kawasaki Puccetti Racing in Aragon (© Kawasaki Racing).

The best German since World Champion Cortese before his 2nd WSSP season

It was an excellent season for the fast young German, which he showed in his rookie year in the WorldSSP 600 in the Corona year. We asked the strong Bavarian a few questions before his second year on the Kawasaki ZX-6R after he had come back from a test at the Circuito de Jerez. After Lucas Mahias was promoted to WorldSBK in the Kawasaki Puccetti Racing Team, Phillip Öttl is now the hope of the experienced top team in the WorldSBK paddock. For 2021 he will compete with Can Öncü in the Supersport 600 World Championship for Kawasaki Puccetti Racing.

Phillip Öttl – in the Kawasaki Puccetti Racing Box (© Kawasaki Racing).

Together with Mahias, Öttl created a lot of green

There are always voices that speak of a Yamaha Cup at the Supersport 600 World Championship. But a French and a German brought a lot of green on the podium and on the screen during the shortened Corona season.

  • Philipp, when you started the shortened season. Would you have thought before that you could do it so well and even finish third in the World Cup, or were you yourself surprised by your performance in the end?
    In 2020 I absolutely had to deliver good results. I sat on a very good bike and had a very good team. Except for the failure in Australia, I was constant. This was very important. Of course, I’m really happy with 3rd place in the overall standings.
Pasini, Öttl & Bastianini in May 2019 in Jerez in Moto2 photographed by us on the warm-up lap in target curve 13. Not only Philipp Öttl had problems at the KTM this year.
  • Now that Locatelli and Mahias have been promoted to WSBK, which riders do you expect as the strongest opponents for the coming season?
    Aegerter, Krummenacher, Cluzel, Odendaal and Caricasulo are extremely strong. I am sure there are ten others who will make my life difficult.
From the front “Krummi”, Caricasulo, de Rosa and behind Jules Cluzel – photographed by us at the start in April 2019 in Assen. The competition will be very strong again next season, which Philipp will meet.
  • We claim your compatriot would be good for consistently scoring points. What do you think Patrick Hobelsberger could have achieved in a good team and with good material in the WorldSSP 600 next season?
    I trained a lot with Patrick last year. I think that with a good bike, points are no problem for him.
  • Assuming that you received a serious offer for WorldSBK for 2022 in the course of the coming season, would we see you fighting Rea, van der Mark and Co. a year later?
    At the moment I’m only concentrating on the Supersport season. I have to show a very good performance to be promoted to the SBK WM. If I had a good offer, I would really like to ride the SBK WM.
Leader Öttl, Mahias, Locatelli, de Rosa, Öncü – the German drove sensationally strong in his 2020 rookie season despite some new tracks for him (© Kawasaki Racing).
  • Which route was your favorite last season and which one are you missing the most in the current provisional calendar?
    I liked Jerez, Aragon and Estoril a lot. Overseas races are always very cool. I think the provisional calendar could still changing a lot. Argentina and Australia are difficult to do in the current situation. Indonesia is not finished yet. I think there will be more European races.
Phillip Öttl (Kawasaki ZX-6R) – Kawasaki Puccetti Racing in Jerez (© Kawasaki Racing).
  • Many spoke of the alleged Yamaha Cup in the WorldSBK, but you were sensationally strong with the green bike in the first year and mostly on par with Mahias and her together, mostly right at the front. Then the Kawasaki isn’t that bad after all?
    Well there are a lot of Yamahas on the grid. The Yamaha got a facelift a few years ago and now everyone is saying it’s so much newer than the Kawasaki. The frame and swing arm are as old as those of the Kawa. I think the Kawasaki still has a little leeway.
  • Were you surprised when Lucas Mahias was named by your team as replacing Xavi Fores, or did you expect this (for many unexpected) decision?
    No didn’t surprise me. Lucas always wanted to drive SBK. He will be quick because his driving style suits it well.
Lucas Mahias (Kawasaki ZX-6R) – Kawasaki Puccetti Racing photographed by us in Phillip Island on February 29, 2020. The Frenchman is changing to a Kawasaki ZX-10RR for the 2021 season in WorldSBK as the successor to Xavi Fores.
  • Do you agree with us that the two races per weekend add value to your category and do you as a driver prefer to drive 2 races in 2 days?
    I think it’s very cool to do two races over the weekend. One race at the weekend would not have been enough in this shortened season. This was a good idea.
  • The new Kawasaki ZX-10RR for Rea, Lowes, Mahias, Viñales and Cresson looks sharp. An additional motivation for you to recommend yourself for good results this season?
    Yes, I like it very much. Especially in the racing version. I feel very comfortable in the Kawasaki family and would like to stay there.
Kawa ZX-10RR – on the left the model 2021 and on the right the machine from 2020. In Jerez de la Frontera, Johnny Rea was already faster than Stefan Bradl on the MotoGP Honda in November (© Kawasaki Racing).
  • How bad was it to ride in front of mostly empty ranks for the first time last season, or did you usually not really notice it on the bike?
    You don’t get much of it during the race. After the race, however, already. It’s missing there. The paddock was also always empty.
  • You may have had some handicaps as a result of Covid-19 for your pre-season preparation. So far, are you still on plan for a start in April (if everything really goes according to plan) in Assen?
    At the moment everything is going according to plan. Sure, it’s difficult to travel at the moment, but it works if you stick to the rules.
Leader Öttl, Mahias, Locatelli, de Rosa on the Circuito de Cataluña (© WorldSBK).

Final score in the WorldSSP 600 in 2020

The Motul WorldSBK provisional calendar for 2021

The first official test drives will begin in a few days in Jerez de la Frontera, where Phillip Öttl has just driven. The round in Australia and a 13th event for which the venue is still open is still open. Let’s keep our fingers crossed that things will start as planned in Assen in April. Many observers believe that the planning of the WorldSBK is far more realistic than the MotoGP calendar with races in Argentina and USA in April. However, it is still not certain which events will actually take place in the Superbike World Championship.