Kawasaki ace Jonathan Rea (pictured left, six-time World Champion) and WorldSBK icon Troy Corser with two titles and impressive Superpole dominance for many, many years. In contrast to the Northern Irishman, the impressive successes of the Australian are unjustly threatened by today’s numbers. When Corser was still active, there were only two races instead of three from 2019 with the Tissot Sprintrace. In addition, in his time the top was usually much more balanced than today and especially in 2023.

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.

Alvaro Bautista on the Ducati Panigale V4R, a true monster, which was so favored by FIM and Dorna that the competition from the MotoGP Replica introduced in 2019 is usually lost 4 years later at the latest. The other manufacturers usually have such disadvantages in terms of acceleration and top speed that far too often even private pilots don’t have a chance on this motorcycle. According to Marco Melandri (vice world champion from 2011 on a Yamaha and third in the 2012 World Championship on a BMW, as well as a long-standing Ducati works rider), Ducati “destroyed the spirit of the Superbike World Championship” with the introduction of the Panigale.

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.

Our statistics for the Superbike World Championship 2002, the only halfway comparable season 21 years later. After 8 of 13 laps, however, Ducati icon Troy Bayliss was only 49 points ahead of his bitter opponent Colin Edwards, who then became world champion with nine wins in a row. And today? After 6 of 12 laps, Bautista is currently 93 points ahead of Toprak. In addition, the Yamaha hope currently sees little chance of being able to seriously press the Spaniard on his Ducati on almost all WSBK racetracks.

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.

Alvaro Bautista on the works Honda CBR-1000RR-R, which is not inferior even to the Ducati Panigale V4R in terms of top speed, as the result sheets of the last 4 years impressively prove. Nevertheless, today almost all so-called experts forget how little the short man from Talavera de la Reina was able to do on this motorcycle. Otherwise they would probably hardly repeat their claims that Alvaro is currently the best pilot.

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.

Scott Redding (BMW M-1000RR) took his best result of the first half of the season with 4th place in the final race at Donington. Where he will race next year is definitely more exciting than who will take the WorldSBK title in 2023. If the fast Englishman stays with the blue and whites, he will be a team-mate for Toprak Razgatlioglu next year, although “Magic Michael” van der Mark is currently claiming this as well.

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.

Danilo Petrucci (Barni Spark Racing Team Ducati, Panigale V4R) in front of four factory riders and with Axel Bassani the second best Ducati privateer in the second race. The former MotoGP Ducati factory rider and Grand Prix winner with the number nine took his first podium of the season with 3rd place. If, despite the maximum effort and effort of his team, a six-time world champion like the man with the number 65 in the picture has no chance of a place on the podium, something must be wrong. Therefore, after 2022, the WSBK season 2023 will also go down in history as a sporting farce.

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