Troy Bayliss (to our left as co-commentator during the 1st race in the Paddock Show) photographed with Motul WorldSBK presenter Michael Hill 2020 in Phillip Island. After a sensational start came the Corona catastrophe – but on August 1st it was decided in Jerez to continue the shortened season.

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:

Photographed by us in Australia after the start of the Superpole Race in Phillip Island on March 1, 2020: Jonathan Rea (Kawasaki) ahead of Toprak Razgatlioglu (Yamaha) and Tom Sykes (BMW). On the far right, Ducati newcomer Scott Redding and on the far left Alvaro Bautista (HRC Honda).

Round 2 – Jerez:

Our photo from the Paddock Show in Phillip Island (Australia) on March 1st, 2020 after the 2nd race with from left presenter Michael Hill, winner Alex Lowes, Jonathan Rea (P2), Scott Redding (P3) and the best privateer Maximilian Scheib . After the round in Australia Lowes was world championship leader and after Jerez this was Ducati Hope Redding, but not for long.

Round 3 – Portimao:

Jonathan Rea (Kawasaki ZX-10RR) ahead of Toprak Razgatlioglu (Pata Yamaha) and Loris Baz (Ten Kate Yamaha). After the round in Portugal, the reigning world champion took the lead in the World Cup with 3 wins (© WorldSBK).

Round 4 – Aragon 1:

Michael Ruben Rinaldi (GoEleven Ducati Racing) – the sensation in Aragon with his victory in the first race on Saturday of the second weekend (© WorldSBK).

Round 5 – Aragon 2:

On the second weekend in Aragon in the 1st run – Scott Redding ( Ducati) in the gravel. The Englishman lost a lot of points as the pursuer of Rea in the fight for the world championship (© WorldSBK).

Round 6 – Barcelona:

Round 7 – Nevers:

The superior rider of the last 6 years in WorldSBK – Jonathan Rea (Kawasaki ZX-10RR). After Nevers, he was able to secure his title in the first race at the season finale in Portugal (© WorldSBK).

Round 8 – Estoril:

A historic moment in Motul WorldSBK – Jonathan Rea (Kawasaki) crosses the finish line as world champion in the 1st race in Estoril on October 17, 2020. The World Championship title number 6 in a row is signaled to him on the board (© WorldSBK).
WorldSBK with a view of the sea – on the first weekend in March in Phillip Island / Australia. Except for the bad food and the overpriced prices everywhere, we will have fond memories of this trip Down Under. We had some experiences that were definitely worth the adventure. As soon as we arrived in the paddock, we ran into Honda newcomer Alvaro Bautista and immediately after that, Jonathan Rea was standing around the corner.

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.

Jonathan Rea after his first win of the 2019 season at Imola, the longest losing streak since driving for Kawasaki. In the end, he won title number 5 and in 2020 it was again not child’s play for him, but he managed the 6th world title in a row.

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.

Scott Redding (Ducati, in the picture) photographed by us at the start of the 1st Air of the BSB in Assen (Netherlands). On the Be Wiser Ducati, he was the clear dominator of the 2019 season.

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.

From left, Jonathan Rea, joker Scott Redding and Maximilian Scheib held by us at the paddock show after the 2nd race in Phillip Island. The Chilean had just said after verbose statements by his previous speakers, all of whom were English-speaking, that he would keep it a little shorter due to his modest language skills. Scotty then caressed his cap with great laughter from those present.

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?

Jonathan Rea (Kawasaki) ahead of Scott Redding (Ducati) and Tom Sykes (BMW). The Superbike World Championship 2020 was primarily a duel between the world champion and the Ducati newcomer (© WorldSBK).

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.

Aragon 2nd weekend run – Scott Redding (Ducati) in the gravel. A decisive moment in the WSBK season 2020, with which the Englishman lost a lot of ground to Jonathan Rea in one fell swoop (© WorldSBK).

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.

WorldSBK Estoril out in Race 1 of Scott Redding on his way to the pits (© WorldSBK).

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.

Michael van der Mark (Pata Yamaha as leader at the beginning of the Superpole Race in Phillip Island, held by us in the Honda Corner. Behind the Dutchman you can see the helmet of second-placed Johnny Rea and to his right Kawasaki team-mate Alex Lowes. Inside Toprak Razgatlioglu (Pata Yamaha), in front of Loris Baz (Ten Kate Yamaha), Leon Haslam (HRC Honda) and Sandro Cortese (Outdo TPR Kawasaki). Behind Rea and Lowes you can just about Scott Redding with the black helmet and Tom Sykes (red-blue ) and Xavi Fores in green.

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.

Alvaro Bautista (HRC Honda) – after just a few races, the Spaniard and his teammate Leon Haslam had their first respectable successes (© HRC Honda).

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.

Toprak Razgatlioglu (Pata Yamaha) during his crash in the Superpole race in Portimão. The young Turk is undisputedly one of the fastest drivers, but he still has his weaknesses. In order to intervene in the fight for the world title, it would have to improve on some routes and become more constant (© WorldSBK).

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.

Sandro Cortese on GRT Yamaha before the start in Aragon 2019. After the Man from Berkheim lost his place with the junior team at the end of the season, he found shelter at Outdo TPR Kawasaki at the last moment for 2020. But in the 7th race of the season in Portugal, the season ended prematurely with a nasty crash.

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.

This start of Markus Reiterberger in Aragon 2019 went badly wrong. The German had contact with Jonathan Rea and took off quite violently before the first corner. We were relieved after this photo that he hadn’t seriously injured himself and that he was back at the next race. In the next World Championship round in Assen, he struck in Superpole and drove himself sensationally into the front row. With two sixth places, it was Reiti’s most successful weekend in the BMW works team.

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 old and new world champion, for the 6th time in a row Jonathan Rea on his Kawasaki ZX-10RR, instead of which he will receive a completely new weapon in the fight for the world championship for next season (© Kawasaki Racing Team).

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.

Xavi Fores (here behind Rinaldi and Rea) scored the decisive points in 8th place in the last race of the season to snatch Ducati away from the manufacturers’ title by a tiny point despite the falls of Alex Lowes and Johnny Rea (© Kawasaki Racing Team).

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.