Why BMW has to do without tests until March
We remember the first lockdown very well. Our flight from Vienna to Doha for the 2nd round of WorldSBK was of course already booked, as were all other MotoGP and WorldSBK trips for the 2020 season. We had just returned from Phillip Island (Australia) with a stopover in Singapore. This is exactly why Qatar Airways confirmed to us shortly before departure that we would have been quarantined in Doha as soon as we arrived. Shortly afterwards, the author of this article received an email from the USA from his client as an international consultant. It was clear that all trips must be approved by the highest authority from now on. It was explicitly not just about crisis areas such as northern Italy. A completely normal procedure in such cases for global corporations. This is exactly what happened to the BMW works team. That’s why you won’t see them again until mid-March and they had to forego the Jerez tests last November.
The beginning of a madness and the effects
At the beginning of March 2020, following advice from Doha, we refrained from starting our trip and only received a credit note many months later, fortunately with an expiry time of at least two years. The WorldSBK event had already been canceled and the hotel even refunded us the prepayment in full. From then on, speculation about the races of the first half of the year began on most motorsports-portals. We had been declaring since mid-March that there would definitely NOT be any motorcycle Grand Prix or WorldSBK races before midsummer. We should be right with that and it started in mid-July 2020 indeed.
Rain in Jerez and not 15 degrees Celsius – day 1 for nothing
The only one who did his laps around noon was Stefan Bradl on the MotoGP Honda today, January 20, 2021. The timekeeping colleagues should be forgiven for listing the German as English. With a top speed of less than 260 km / h and lap times of just under 2 minutes, there is no need to speak of the limit due to the wet conditions. On November 18, 2021, Jonathan Rea was already faster on the brand-new Kawasaki ZX-10RR than the Bavarian on the MotoGP factory rocket from Honda and slammed a best time of 1: 38.324. On January 20th, however, all WorldSBK pilots had stayed in the pits until 1 p.m. Even “rain god” Johnny Rea and his English compatriots Redding, Lowes and Haslam did not go out until then.
Ducati – the renunciation of November tests takes revenge
Now that it is bitterly cold and raining in Jerez de la Frontera, the Ducati executives should feel pretty stupid. In the previous year, the competition was tested in wonderful conditions and bright sunshine. BMW had to do without for the reasons outlined above and Ducati probably voluntarily for reasons of cost. But the first of two official test days on the Circuito de Jerez fell victim to the horrific January weather. For the second day, the forecast is around 17 degrees Celsius and still a 30 percent probability of rain. The waiver of the November 2020 tests by Ducati is now bitterly taking revenge on the Italian team. The tests will not continue until the beginning of March.
The test plan for WorldSBK until spring 2021
Jerez test: 20th – 21st January
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
The combined provisional calendar 2021
Many changes are still to be expected, as most observers have now also recognized. On the other hand, we had already emphasized from November 5, 2020 after its publication by Dorna (for MotoGP) that this plan would be untenable. After all, Gregorio Lavilla, who is responsible for WorldSBK at Dorna, has put together a much more realistic plan than his colleagues responsible for MotoGP. Since the beginning of November 2020, we have listed the events in italics that we have strong doubts about whether they will take place. A replacement for Brno is currently missing and in WorldSBK at least two events are currently still undefined. There is likely to be a more than big question mark behind San Juan and Indonesia due to the pandemic. This is especially true for the numerous MotoGP events overseas.