Stéphane Mertens (Honda) in front of Fabrizio Pirovano (Yamaha) and in the back with 11th Scott Russell (Kawasaki) as the first world champion for the Greens in 1993. The two drivers in front are among the winners of the first two events in 1988 and five years later. For more about the earlier years of WorldSBK, see our richly illustrated and constantly growing history.

Search for the favourites for the WorldSBK weekend in Estoril

Usually we come here with statistics, even if they are usually only of limited informative value. If manufacturers such as Kawasaki and BMW come with new models, it will be even more difficult to sort out the favourites on this basis before the first race. At the Circuito do Estoril there is even another factor for the 2nd WSBK World Championship round. With Jonathan Rea and Scott Redding, the two best drivers of the 2020 season had unexpected problems. At the season opener in Aragon, it was mainly HRC Honda who had an unexpectedly bad start to the new year with their drivers. But for Estoril a lot is completely different, in particular the track has very different characteristics.

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.

The advantages for Ducati and Yamaha
Even if Chaz Davies is said to have claimed after the Aragon weekend, according to the rainbow press, that he expected a defeat there, he wasn’t that bad after all. On Saturday only missed the podium by 6 tenths and on Sunday morning the best Ducati in 4th place, that was definitely not bad. Only his unnecessary crash at Turn 8 in the second race was out of place, but his Ducati Panigale V4R can’t do anything about that. The Welshman is the last rider to win at Estoril and a good six months later he is riding the same, extremely competitive bike. Therefore, he has certain advantages over most of the others together with Toprak Razgatlioglu as a two-time winner of the first two races last year, while for Kawasaki it was a weekend to forget. At Ducati, things are looking very good for Redding as second behind Davies in the last race 221 days ago in Portugal. Also, because Michael Ruben Rinaldi scored more points than Rea and Lowes at the time.

Scott Redding ( Ducati) at the end of his dreams in the Superpole of Estoril in October 2020 – the Englishman still had one, if only a tiny, title chance before that. After his fall in qualifying, however, he had to start from the very back in race 1 and the Superpole sprint race.

Kawasaki and Honda – the two underdogs
At least based on the results of the Estoril event in October 2020, these two brands and their drivers are more of the secret favourites. Two of them have a new bike and by no means only some parts are new, as you can see from the look. Nevertheless, the FIM scandalously castrated the Kawasaki shortly before the start of the season and received significantly less top speed than the equally new BMW M-1000RR. Of course the Greens were prepared for this and as you could see, the driver made the difference for them once again. Sam Lowes, however, took his third podium at Aragon against Redding and Davies by a hair’s breadth. Honda was not bad last year at the Circuito do Estoril, but it was still well behind the best.

A very rare starting grid before the first two races on October 17 and 18, 2020 in Estoril – in the very back of the picture in red Scott Redding (Ducati) and on the left in the 5th row the dominator of WorldSBK since 2015 in the person of Kawasaki Ace Jonathan Rea.

BMW – the surprise egg
BMW cannot be assessed well before round two of the World Cup. Almost anything between top and flop is possible with the blue-whites, also due to the fact that they were the last of all to go to the racetrack for tests. The best results of newcomer “Magic Michael”, Tom Sykes and Jonas Folger were in Aragon on Sunday. Back then, some otherwise tough opponents simply had the wrong tires on their bikes. In this respect, the moment of truth is now approaching for BMW drivers, and we are careful not to make hasty predictions. Even a fast qualifying time means anything but making it onto the podium afterwards. The proof of this was seen on Saturday in Aragon, when Sykes started the race from row 1 and was only in P8 for a long time.

Andrea Locatelli on his first ride on the Yamaha R1 on the Monday after the 2020 event, what can the Italian achieve in the second round of the World Championship as a Yamaha factory rider?

No WSBK live blog on Friday – but on the weekend
We will forego our live blog on Friday, but will of course provide interim reports on events. FIM and Dorna are to blame for their questionable planning and currently a total of 5 collisions in the calendar between the two series. As is well known, the MotoGP on Friday in Mugello can already be about making it into Q2. At the WSBK, however, you could already see in Aragon that the times of FP1 and the second free practice said next to nothing for the Superpole on Saturday. At the weekend, however, the near-series world championship has priority for us, and we will report on it in the live blog as usual. The other way round, of course, with individual reports for the event on the Autodromo del Mugello. The weather frogs are playing a little crazy about Estoril and the Italian GP right now. In the last few days the forecasts for both events for the coming weekend have changed from almost completely dry to a 90 percent probability of rain.

The redeeming advertisement for the 6-time WSBK world champion Jonathan Rea on Saturday, October 17th, 2020 in Estoril (© Kawasaki Racing Team).

The WorldSBK 2020 Estoril results at a glance

In principle, the first three of the previous year are automatically the main favourites for the coming weekend in Estoril. For example, Alex Lowes is definitely not there, apart from Johnny Rea, while Gerloff and van der Mark along with Toprak, Chaz and Scotty were very strong. Honda was there twice very well and BMW is the lucky bag this time with the new M-1000RR. Loris Baz, Xavi Forés and unfortunately also Leandro Mercado are among the prominent missing in Estoril. The French rider rides in MotoAmerica and recently clinched his first podium there on Ducati. The fast Xavi, on the other hand, found no place and the Argentine has a forced break because his team allegedly withdrew for some time for flimsy reasons. From the experience of the last few months, however, you don’t need to believe a word of the people at MIE Honda anyway. The unfortunate Tati suffers, it is a real shame for the sport!

Stand in the WorldSBK and WSSP 600 world championships

The running results highlighted in blue mean that they were started as a rain race.

The combined schedule of Mugello MotoGP and WorldSBK Estoril

>WSBK Estoril and MotoGP Mugello preview: see separate report on this page.

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