Select the appropriate category and round for certain events (translation coming soon).
Round 1 – Phillip Island (Australia), the last races before the Covid-19 pandemic:
Round 2 – Jerez: http://www.motoracers.eu/wsbk-r02-jerez/
Round 3 – Portimao: http://www.motoracers.eu/wsbk-r03-por/
Round 4 – Aragon 1: http://www.motoracers.eu/wsbk-r04-aragon/
Round 5 – Aragon 2: http://www.motoracers.eu/wsbk-r05-aragon/
Round 6 – Barcelona: http://www.motoracers.eu/wsbk-r06-barcelona/
Round 7 – Nevers: http://www.motoracers.eu/wsbk-r07-fra/
Round 8 – Estoril: http://www.motoracers.eu/wsbk-r08-estoril/
The tightest Superbike World Championship in many years
When Jonathan Rea moved from Pata Honda to Kawasaki in the fall of 2014 as third place in the World Championship, no one would have initially bet that he would dominate the WSBK for years. But from then on it got serious for Tom Sykes as his teammate. The WorldSBK joker had finally won the long-awaited title two years earlier for Kawasaki after a long break since 1993. A season later, the now 35-year-old from Huddersfield failed by 6 points to Sylvain Guintoli on Aprilia. The Frenchman snatched the title away from the Englishman with a strong final sprint with 3 wins and a 2nd place in the end. And then Johnny Rea came to Kawasaki. Four years of absolute dominance followed, followed by a tough season with eleven races from the start of the season without a win. In the end, however, he prevailed convincingly against Alvaro Bautista and secured the title for the third time in a row in Magny-Cours. A year later, however, it became much tighter.
The toughest opponent of the record world champion so far – Scott Redding
After the surprising departure of Alvaro Bautista as vice world champion in 2019, Ducati had to look for a replacement for the 2020 season and quickly found it. With the former MotoGP rider Redding there was an aspirant in the starting blocks who had won the British Superbike Championship (BSB) straight away. The Englishman had dominated the strong national championship on a Panigale V4R, so he already knew his future work equipment. However, many of the routes on the WorldSBK calendar were new to the 27-year-old from Quedgeley, west of London. But this was not the case at the season opener in Phillip Island, he was already familiar with this circuit from MotoGP. And Scotty promptly finished on the podium three times in a row Down Under.
The Englishman’s strong first WorldSBK season
Behind Alex Lowes as World Cup leader, Redding traveled back to Europe because the original calendar fell due to the corona pandemic. Actually, it should have continued in Losail (Qatar), but the continuation with a shortened season did not take place until August 1st due to the corona pandemic on the Circuito de Jerez. While the Kawasaki drivers had problems in Andalusia, the Ducati drivers in particular struck and Scott took the championship lead with two wins and a 2nd place in the Superpole race behind Rea. But then the third round came in Portimão and the world champion struck back. The Ducati rider stumbled with two 7th places in the first two races and only made it onto the podium with P2 in the last run.
The perfect start in Aragon and the premature hope
On the Motorland Aragon circuit, Alvaro Bautista drove all of the competition to the ground last year on the Panigale V4R. But compared to the little Spaniard, Redding is much heavier and the advantages of this lightning-fast bike were quite limited. Nevertheless, as expected, he won the first run of the doubles event and took the lead again with one point ahead of Rea. The Northern Irishman was only third behind Chaz Davies and so after his first triumph Redding sounded “I can go on like this, why not 5 more wins here?“
How Redding’s dreams ended in the gravel
In the Superpole race the next day, the world champion surprisingly won ahead of Scott and Michael van der Mark (Yamaha). In the second race in the afternoon, things got worse for the Ducati driver. The Kawasaki Ace won and he only managed P4. Then on the second weekend the drama with a flight into the gravel trap of Redding in the first race, while Rea won.
The preliminary decision had been made
From now on, the world champion wouldn’t let the butter be removed from the bread. Together with Chaz Davies he was the hardest-working point collector in Barcelona and on the rainy weekend in Magny-Cours he took the overall victory. In Estoril, Johnny Rea brought his sixth title in a row to the dry and Redding had to be content with second place in the overall bill. Even before the first race he had stated that he was hoping for mistakes or technical failures by the Kawasaki driver. The next day, the Moto2 runner-up from 2013 would have loved to bite off his tongue. Whoever dropped out in the first race due to a technical defect was himself, which made Jonathan Rea the world champion.
Lots of misjudgments by supposed experts
Even during the tests, it was very amusing to see how many misjudgments there were by various supposed experts, especially at the beginning of the season. Most of the clerks were apparently not even aware that points are only awarded when the red lights at the start go out. Therefore, an Alvaro Bautista or Alex Lowes were portrayed as losers after tests and initial training sessions in Phillip Island. On the other hand, after some fast lap times, Tom Sykes was already considered a clear candidate for the podium. The latter, however, not only remained completely pale in Australia, but also experienced the most unsuccessful season since 2012. A single top 5 result in 24 races and 12th place in the World Championship is simply underground for the BMW driver and his team.
HRC Honda and Lowes gave the lie to their critics
Bautista and Lowes gave the lie to their critics in Australia and showed astonishing performances, the Kawasaki driver even left Phillip Island as world championship leader. Now he was suddenly traded as a potential World Cup candidate by those who had written him off after training. But even here, various supposed experts were wrong, in the end it was only enough for the Englishman to rank 6 in the World Cup. And while BMW went under terribly, the little Spaniard, who was completely underrated after the tests, already took his first podium in Aragon. Alvaro Bautista and Leon Haslam performed astonishingly on the HRC Honda in their first season despite the difficult starting position due to Corona. Both drivers were in the top ten at the end of the season and thus clearly ahead of the two BMW drivers in the German-English team’s second year of the World Championship.
Toprak was also misjudged by many
Even Toprak Razgatlioglu (Pata Yamaha) was also overrated by many after a strong second half of 2019 and a great start to the new season. The young Turk then promptly showed less good races and from Aragon onwards, team-mate Michael van der Mark was usually the faster. That the protégé of Supersport record world champion Kenan Sofuoglu would not be strong in Aragon was to be expected based on his results from last year. Nevertheless, he was doing much better than in 2019. Toprak only struck again at the season finale and, thanks to a fall of “Magic Michael”, was able to distance him by 5 points in the World Cup. But more consistency is expected from a real World Cup favorite and Razgatlioglu is definitely still missing this at the moment.
Negative topics about the 2020 WorldSBK season
The fact that no spectators were allowed to take part in most of the races caused forehead wrinkles in many places, especially in the case of less financially strong teams due to their dwindling sponsorship money. For this reason, a number of races were also dropped from the calendar, which had to be completely revised due to the corona pandemic. Sandro Cortese’s ugly fall in the first race at Portimão almost cost the “Italo-Swabians” their lives. It was very lucky that he will recover completely despite his vertebral fractures. But we put a very big question mark behind his return to his bike.
Lots of absenteeism for 2021 and uncertain calendar
The project for the entry of a German team Bonovo with Jonas Folger was a success. Also, with the Welshman Chaz Davies and Eugene Laverty some veteran heroes of the Superbike World Championship will stay in the 2021 season. Maximilian Scheib, like Jordi Torres, will have a hard time coming back. Likewise, Markus Reiterberger and Sandro Cortese. Where and how they can drive this year is still in the stars.
The drivers’ world championship – 7 different winners
Compared to the previous year, there were two more winners in the shortened Corona season 2020. With 7 different winners in just 24 races, it was similar to the same year in MotoGP. There have never been so many different winners in one season since 2013, when Tom Sykes won his only title to date on Kawasaki. And since 2014, a World Championship has never been decided in the last round. At that time, Tom Sykes (Kawasaki) traveled to Losail (Qatar) as the reigning world champion with a 12 point lead over Silvain Guintoli (Aprilia) for the season finale. The Frenchman, who is still a test driver for Suzuki in 2020, won both races in the desert state and the Englishman came third twice. With this Guintoli won the title, after Raymond Roche in 1990 with Ducati as only the second Frenchman in the history of the Superbike World Championship.
The Manufacturers World Cup 2020 – it couldn’t be any closer
First and foremost, of course, it was thanks to Jonathan Rea that Kawasaki made it to the sixth Manufacturers’ World Championship in a row. But it was an irony of fate that Xavi Fores, who had recently fallen out of favor with Puccetti Racing, scored the decisive points for the Greens in the last race of the season. After his team promoted the French Lucas Mahias as Supersport 600 vice world champion to the WSBK in 2021, there is no more room for the Spaniard. Maybe the Japanese will return the favor at Fores and help him find a place in one of the other Kawasaki teams for next season.
Shortened calendar from 2020 – due to the Covid-19 pandemic
Instead of the beginning of March in Losail (Qatar), the so-called lockdown came in most countries and there was an interruption until summer. However, in cooperation with the FIM, Dorna was able to set up an emergency calendar after numerous events would only have been conceivable with spectators. Unfortunately, the planned premiere in Oschersleben fell through, instead the season continued on this date in Jerez de la Frontera. In addition to the start of the season in Phillip Island (Australia), the only scheduled date took place as a premiere on the Circuito de Catalunya near Barcelona. Instead of the planned 13 laps, however, there were only 8 laps in the end and Estoril was a replacement date as the final race in the shortened calendar. From round 2 to 8 there were therefore also double races in the Supersport 600 World Championship.