WSBK 2023 – a uniquely one-sided season
We have reviewed and documented the history of WorldSBK in great detail from its beginnings to the present day. We dare say that nowhere else is there such comprehensive and richly illustrated research into the history of the Superbike World Championship as on this site. Every viewer can make sure under the History chapter whether we are leaning too far out of the window with this assertion. We invested months and years in it and in the process our admiration for the achievements of earlier heroes grew every day, of course without losing respect for the achievements of today’s pilots. Jonathan Rea and Toprak Razgatlioglu in particular can hardly be praised enough for their attitude towards racing and their constant willingness to fight, although they are usually aware of their lack of a chance before the start. For the Turk, who will switch to BMW at the end of 2023, the current season is possibly the best way to get used to the lack of top success.
Interesting mid-season statement from KRT
On the fringes of the Donington weekend, Provec Racing team boss Guim Roda stated in an interview that their hands were tied in the fight against Ducati’s MotoGP replica. The Kawasaki factory team owes this to the FIM as the most successful team of the last decade. But Dorna with CEO Carmelo Ezpeleta is not innocent either. Together with FIM Boss Jorge Viegas, he overturned a minimum weight for pilot and machine that had already been decided by the WorldSBK Manufacturers’ Association, as has long been the case in WorldSSP. Because the reigning world champion Alvaro Bautista is very small and light, he almost wins at will on the Ducati Panigale V4R, which has been greatly improved for 2023. After the weekend at Donington Park, the current strongest opponent of the Spanish World Championship leader summed up his advantages in terms of top speed and acceleration in simple terms.
Toprak: “I felt like I was on a 600 against Alvaro”
After the Turk, as world champion of 2021, had won the sprint race, but had absolutely no chance in both runs over the full distance, his words give every sports fan food for thought. His words from Sunday night at Donington immediately reminded us of our observations of the opening laps of WorldSBK 2019. Back then, Bautista won the first 11 races of the season in complete safety and at BuriRam, for example, we saw him overspeed Kawasaki ace Jonathan Rea by at least 15km/h fly past the not too long straights. Today, most journalists and commentators describe Alvaro Bautista as the absolute top pilot and currently the best. Unfortunately, like so many observers, they forget how everything looked only 2 years earlier. When Bautista switched to Honda after missing out on his 2019 title following a miserable offer to extend his Ducati contract the year after, his rapid decline began.
The truth about the real balance of power
Actually, a quick look at Alvaro Bautista’s both years on the not-so-slow Honda CBR-1000RR-R is enough to put such claims into perspective. With a third place each as the best result in 2020 and 2021, the Spanish midget was ninth and tenth in the World Cup during this time. Not a whit better than his successors Iker Lecuona and Xavi Vierge. If you put him on Toprak’s Yamaha or even the Kawasaki, badly castrated by the FIM 2021, Bautista would have to fight like a lion just to finish in the top 5. Or does anyone seriously believe that Johnny Rea is slower than in his most successful years from 2015 to 2020, when he won 6 titles in a row for Kawasaki? Bautista should still not have a chance against the Northern Irishman on equivalent material, which also applies against a Toprak Razgatlioglu. Because he will be so superior on circuits like Aragon, Portimão or San Juan due to his horsepower advantages, Alvaro can rest easy. As long as FIM and Dorna protect him in this way, it is almost impossible for him to lose the title defense. The only question is how long competing companies such as BMW, Honda, Kawasaki and Yamaha will continue to do so.
What can we expect in the second half of 2023?
Neither in WorldSSP 600 nor in the Superbike World Championship is it likely to be exciting in the title fight. In both classes, an Aruba.it factory Ducati is the lonely and almost unchallenged leader. With the exception of Imola and should it rain at any of the upcoming races, there is only one favorite in WorldSBK in particular and that is Alvaro Bautista. The little Spaniard would wish that his successes would bring more prestige. However, this prevents the superiority of his motorcycle, to which he owes his dominance in the first place. If the date for the seventh round of the WSBK at the Autodromo Dino e Enzo Ferrari in Imola was not in the middle of the hottest season, Jonathan Rea would at least be the big favorite there. However, because his Kawasaki ZX-10RR is not competitive enough at high temperatures, Alvaro probably has the best cards even on this driver’s course. The same in Nevers, because the Magny-Cours circuit has too many tight corners followed by acceleration sections. Not to mention the routes that follow. That is why Most, as the eighth round after Imola, cannot bring a turnaround. So Ducati can cool the champagne or perhaps Prosecco already.
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