Samuele Cavalieri (Motocorsa Racing Ducati Panigale V4R) – photographed by us on June 23, 2019 in Misano on the pursuit of Alessandro Delbianco (Honda CBR-1000RR). The young Italian drove with a wildcard and saw the checkered flag in the second race ahead of Bautista, Cortese, Melandri and Kiyonari.

Pedercini Racing additionally with Samuele Cavalieri – Cortese out

We had already put a question mark behind Sandro Cortese’s WSBK future last autumn. While others were talking about possible places, it was clear to us that the “Italo-Swabian” would have trouble finding a new place. At least in the premier class of the near-series World Championship, it was obvious that after Leon Camier’s tale of suffering, all team bosses would be careful with his shoulder. No team relies on a driver who still has unanswered health issues, unless he brings a lot of sponsorship money with him. This is exactly what happened with Samuele Cavalieri, with which, in addition to the Belgian Loris Cresson, a second driver has now found refuge with Lucio Pedercini.

Samuele Cavalieri when signing his contract with Pedercini Racing – an undoubtedly promising talent that one of the longest-serving team bosses in the paddock secured. For more about Lucio Pedercini’s earlier career as a driver and team captain see our history (© WorldSBK).

The new Pedercini pilot – no unknown

Whoever crossed the finish line as a wildcard driver ahead of Alvaro Bautista, Sandro Cortese and Marco Melandri in his home race in June 2019 does not need any additional references. The young Italian landed in the points for Motocorsa Racing twice within two days in Misano. The fact that he took off at Turn 4 in the Superpole Race did not detract from his outstanding performance. Lucio Pedercini already had drivers like the Germans Max Neukirchner and Sandro Cortese under contract and was a long-time pilot himself. In times of the corona pandemic, you can now even compete with two drivers – Chapeau! We take our hats off to the man and his team.

Sandro Cortese (last year with Pedercini Racing Kawasaki) – the unlucky person of the 2019 season, sustained serious injuries when he fell on the last lap at the Autodromo do Algarve. Questionable sources said the Germans had chances of returning several times, but this had been more than questionable for months (© WorldSBK).

No rpm-limit for BMW and Kawasaki yet

At the request of one of our readers regarding the definition of the speed limit for new models, we can calm down. Because BMW will enter the race with the M 1000-RR and Kawasaki with a greatly improved ZX-10RR, two new models will have to be homologized by the FIM. Of course, the definition of the speed limit by the highest motor sport authority also plays a certain role, especially for the top performance of the engines. Since BMW has not yet participated in an official WorldSBK test since October 2020, this restriction plays a completely subordinate role for Bayern.

Alex Lowes and the new Kawasaki ZX-10RR in postcard weather in mid-November 2020 on the Circuito de Jerez. It was incomprehensible to all observers that BMW and Ducati stayed away from these tests, which could now take bitter revenge (© Kawasaki Racing Team).

Don’t panic with Kawasaki
At Kawasaki, as the drivers and team recently assured, they are well-prepared for any eventuality. Compared to Ducati and Honda, the FIM cannot afford a scandalously low maximum speed for BMW and Kawasaki. Ultimately, this is just a software parameter for the electronics that can be adjusted within minutes. Not only the top speed and maximum horsepower are important, but also the so-called power curve and torque. So you definitely don’t have to worry about BMW and Kawasaki. The engineers of these top companies have mastered their profession better than 90 percent of the clerks who report on motorsport.

The BMW M 1000-RR already looks very fast when stationary – but will it be the same on the racetrack in comparison to Ducati, Honda, Kawasaki and Yamaha? The bar is high and BMW may have laid a huge egg with the first official test planned for March 2021 (© BMW Motorrad).

Much more important than rpm and 2 to 3 HP more or less
Early and extensive tests are much more important. However, we have some worry lines about the coming season with regard to the blue and white. Assuming that the pandemic forces an even more compressed calendar than last year, things will be tight for BMW. According to crew chief Pere Riba and Jonathan Rea, Kawasaki has already done around 90 percent of its test work and is well-equipped for the upcoming World Cup. Michael van der Mark, on the other hand, has not yet driven a meter on the new M 1000-RR in racing conditions. Likewise, Jonas Folger and Eugene Laverty, who probably only knew the bike from pictures so far. Should it come, like in 2020 in MotoGP, the preparation time will be very tight. The one and a half months from March 5th to the first planned race in April in Assen are already short enough for further development. Truly, “Magic Michael”, Tom Sykes and the other BMW colleagues are not to be envied!

Michael van der Mark photographed by us in the Assen paddock in mid-April 2019 in horrible temperatures with a little fan. The fast Dutchman is currently having worry lines on his forehead about the coming season. Whether the first race will even start in his home country on April 24 this year is far from certain.

The current official WorldSBK test plan until spring

Portimao test: 4th – 5th March – 1st test planned by BMW, just 1.5 months before Assen
Jerez test: 9th – 10th March (Honda only)
Misano test: 15th – 16th March
Estoril test: 24th – 25th March
Barcelona test: March 31st – 1st April
MotorLand Aragon test: April 12th – 13th

Photographed by us at the WorldSBK event in Assen on April 21, 2018 – wonderful spring weather and definitely huge gaps between the spectators in the stands. Actually, even in times of the corona pandemic, this is a source of hope. A year later it snowed on Saturday and the following year there was no event at all due to Covid-19. Whether the WorldSBK will really get going in just over two months is currently the subject of much speculation.

Provisional and unfinished calendar for 2021

Assen, the overseas races and other question marks too. When the next version of this unfinished official calendar will appear is still open.