The six-time record world champion greets his fans after the rainy race on the Circuit de Nevers Magny-Cours and is looking forward to hopefully starting again soon (© WorldSBK).

First official entry list – many question marks remain

The WorldSBK provisional starting grid for 2021 offers no surprises after the latest releases. As our readers have already known since autumn 2020, Sandro Cortese was not to be expected here. MIE Honda has announced two places, but no driver. We hope that to save Eurosport commentator Lenz Leberkern’s nerves, Ryuichi Kiyonari will not be called in by the Japanese team boss at short notice. With Jonas Folger, Germany has at least one definitely promising rider, albeit on a bike that raises questions. Not even Michael van der Mark has been able to ride the M 1000-RR in racing conditions so far. But there are still other question marks.

A duo that no longer exists – although Scott Redding (left in the picture) and Chaz Davies got along wonderfully at Ducati, the English runner-up world champion was given a new teammate (© WorldSBK).

The entry list – changes and additions are to be expected

Not only the question marks at MIE Honda have persisted for months, it is also not yet clear whether Ten Kate or teams like Brixx-Performance will still register at short notice. In the previous year, Sandro Cortese was only officially reported shortly before departure for Australia, which is also absolutely conceivable in the second Corona season. But probably more for other drivers than for the man from Berkheim (west of Munich). Even short-term cancellations are still conceivable, should sponsors suddenly withdraw, despite existing contracts, for whom the extended lockdown thwarted their budget. Changes and additions can therefore still be expected. The list of drivers who would like to ride is definitely long enough. From Jordi Torres to Markus Reiterberger and his compatriot Cortese, there are many who want to go back to the paddock.

What fans and drivers can expect in 2021

A spectacle is to be expected on the slopes and despite his new Kawasaki ZX-10RR, Jonathan Rea will certainly not have an easy time winning his seventh title in a row. As Phillip Öttl recently revealed to us, he expects his team-mate from last year, Lucas Mahias, to be among the front-runners. In addition to Jonas Folger, Tito Rabat and Andrea Locatelli, among the other newcomers, should have what it takes to fight for at least the top 5 results. At the top of the list you should definitely have HRC Honda, while BMW remains the big question mark. Because they did not test in November 2020, their drivers will probably have their backs to the wall from the start.

Smiling man Alvaro Bautista (Ducati, left in the picture) with Johnny Rea (Kawasaki) and his teammate at the time Chaz Davies in Aragon. We took the picture at the Paddock Show in Aragon 2019. This institution, which is very popular with viewers, is unlikely to be used again in the second Corona year, as we recently confirmed.

The next official test dates

Portimao test: 4th – 5th March
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

Garrett Gerloff (GRT Yamaha) in front of last year’s brand colleague Michael van der Mark, who currently has no idea what to expect from BMW with regard to his bike. On the other hand, one can expect a lot from Gerloff in his second season (© WorldSBK).

The provisional calendar – changes are to be expected