Lucas Mahias ahead of Phillip Öttl (Kawasaki Puccetti Racing) – the 2020 vice world champion ahead of the surprisingly strong sensational third in the WorldSSP 600. With the experienced Puccetti Team behind them and the support of Kawasaki, the two ensured a lot of green on the podium (© Kawasaki Racing Team).

Twice green on the first 3 World Championship ranks in 2020

There have been pranksters in the last few months who apparently suffer from color blindness and mistaken green for blue. Even laypeople could see that the WorldSSP 600 season was not a Yamaha Cup with a quick look at the final accounts. Andrea Locatelli on the Bardahl Evan Bros Yamaha R6 was absolutely to be expected. The young Italian impressed last winter with strong training performances. But in the end, Lucas Mahias and Philipp Öttl were two Kawasaki ZX-6R pilots right behind them. Places 4 and 5 went to representatives of the Yamaha R6 faction with Jules Cluzel and Steven Odendaal, in front of an MV Agusta and another Kawasaki. In the first seven ranks there are three blue and three green bikes, plus one red bike. It was therefore by no means so monochrome, as some ignoramuses claim anyway.

After the rise of Locatelli, Mahias and Viñales

Of the first 8 riders of the WorldSSP 600 season 2020, three of them were promoted to WorldSBK next season, two of them Yamaha riders with Andrea Locatelli and Isaac Viñales. Lucas Mahias is the only Kawasaki rider, but with the fast Raffaele de Rosa, who was sixth in the World Championship, switched to a new ZX-6R at ORELAC Racing VerdNatura. In his place, MV Agusta signed Niki Tuuli as the undisputed strong successor for the Reds. Nobody can say how the World Championship with Randy Krummenacher on MV would have turned out without his surprising exit. But the defending champion even ensured with his scandalous retreat that his former team-mate de Rosa lost points. In any case, the “Krummenator” is now coming back to Yamaha, but he will feel a lot of headwinds because the strong opponents did not decrease.

Taken by us after the 2018 Supersport 600 race in Brno, from left winner Jules Cluzel, second Sandro Cortese (both Yamaha) and third Raffaele de Rosa (MV Agusta). The man in the middle once again has an uncertain future, while the two at his side are among the favorites for the 2021 title.

Kawasaki Puccetti’s biggest hope for 2021: Philipp Öttl

In addition to WSSP 300 climber Manuel Gonzalez and Moto2 switch Locatelli, Philipp Öttl was the positive surprise of the shortened Corona season 2020. After Lucas Mahias was promoted to WorldSBK, he is at the side of Can Öncü, Kawasaki Puccetti’s hopes for this year. We are happy to admit that we also had the young Bavarian on the bill for last year. But not even the greatest optimists could assume that he would keep up with the front so consistently. That is precisely why we are very confident that the WorldSSP 600 will not be a “Yamaha Cup” in 2021 either.

Philipp Öttl before the start in Barcelona in his first year on the Kawasaki for the Puccetti Racing Team – a flawless debut, despite a crash at the season opener Down Under and an impressive consistency (© Kawasaki Racing Team).

Why waiting for the displacement to open made sense

In the middle of the Corona crisis, opening up to new manufacturers such as Ducati, Triumph and the like would hardly have made sense. Although predestined for this and even with a factory bike in the IDM in the past, you cannot rely on a commitment from KTM, for example. A sad example of this is how Freudenberg Racing has shrunk in the junior class from originally 4 to one driver for 2021. Instead of helping the Saxon team a little, the Austrians have been pumping millions into MotoGP for years.

The 2001 world champions late in the evening in Imola: WorldSBK Champion Troy Bayliss (far right, for Ducati Infostrada) and WSSP 600 World Champion Andrew Pitt in the typical Kawasaki green. The Australian Pitt won the first Supersport title for Kawasaki. For more about the earlier years of the WSBK and other series see our constantly growing history (© WorldSBK).

Kiefer Racing: The shot in the oven – instead of WorldSBK nothing at all.
Many of Kiefer Racing are now disappointed and therefore nobody is counting on their entry any more. Since August 2019 there has been much time to prepare a Supersport 600 engagement. But too much useless effort was wasted on the supposedly great success with a WSBK entry and in the end they were nowhere to be found despite the crowd funding campaign. Another year has passed uselessly and probably never will come of their return to a world championship. At the time, Lukas Tulovic and Thomas Gradinger were the ones who suffered, the Austrian now found a new WSSP 600 Team at least for 2021.

Lucas Mahias (Puccetti Kawasaki Racing) in Assen in April 2019 at the Paddock Show – the French can look forward to a completely new adventure in WorldSBK on the brand new 2021 Kawasaki ZX-10RR in the coming season.

The starting field is slowly filling up.

Shortly before the engines roar again in Jerez de la Frontera on January 20th, the lists of last-minute entries fill up more and more. For Thomas Gradinger, who finished ninth in the 2019 World Championship, Team DK Motorsport from Italy continues on a Yamaha. His former team Kallio Racing and Ten Kate regarding Loris Baz and WorldSBK are currently missing, along with numerous other teams and drivers, their names are still missing on Dornas Entry List. In this respect, Sandro Cortese’s future is currently still in the stars, not to mention Reiti. Unfortunately, Patrick Hobelsberger also had to jump over the edge despite the contract for 2021, really miserable times have dawned for motorsport as a result of the corona pandemic. Therefore, the fans are all the more happy, with “Domi77” Aegerter and Jonas Folger there is even fresh blood.

Thomas Gradinger (Kallio Racing) photographed by us on the way to the podium after 3rd place in April 2019 in Assen. The Austrian has just been confirmed by the Italian team DK Motorsport for the coming season in the WorldSSP 600.

The WorldSBK Provisional Calendar 2021

With the exception of Donington Park, two races for WSSP 300 and 600 are to be expected for all currently planned events, while in England the Yamaha BluCru R3 Cup is to take place in addition to WorldSBK. For Australia, for which there is currently no contract, one of the two dates mentioned are expected. Of course, this only applies in the event that the Mandalika Circuit is completed and homologated on time, as well as a certain freedom of travel. Unfortunately, Oschersleben is likely to remain a pipe dream after nothing came of it last year. Since tickets cannot be pre-ordered for any event in the calendar at the moment, a large number of changes can generally be expected.

>>How Eurosports german commentator Lenz Leberkern sees the next season, see on this page under “Interviews”.