Is the 2021 World Superbike season a forgone conclusion? Will Johnny Rea make it seven out of seven? Will the Ducati boys put a stop to him? Perhaps it’s the year of the Yamaha or maybe it’s high-time Honda pulled their finger out? All will be revealed in the fullness of time. We can’t wait to find out who’ll win the 2021 WSBK championship, but until then, all we can do is speculate. So that’s exactly what we’ll do…
Let’s start with the current king of the Superbike class, Jonathon Rea. Judging the lad by his form over the past seven years, only a fool would bet against him. He won eleven races last year and won the championship with 55 points to spare. The bloke was in a league of his own. Now, with a new (hopefully improved) Kawasaki ZX-10RR there’s every possibility that his domination will continue 2021 WSBK. That said, on paper, his results did take a bit of a hit at the end of last season. He’ll be hoping what ever has caused that has been nipped in the bud.
Because if he hasn’t, Yamaha mounted Toprak Razgatlıoğlu might take advantage, just like he did at the end of 2020. Razgatlıoğlu finished the season in fourth place, but he had a stonking start, and an even stonking-er finish to the year. We know he’s got the speed to win races, but he’s going to have to do more than win a few rounds if he wants to lift the 2021 WSBK championship trophy.
But the biggest fight for the title came from the Aruba.it Ducati Pairing of Scott Redding and Chaz Davis. They finished second and third overall last year. Davis will still have the odd podium finish I suspect, but I can’t see him taking the title. Likewise for Michael Rinaldi, who replaces Davis in the Aruba.it team. Rinaldi will be fast, but not fast enough.
Redding though, who stays with Aruba.it racing, I reckon has a serious chance. 2020 was his first year in WSBK but he still managed five wins over the course of the year. And second in the championship. In fact it was only his second year on a superbike, after competing in the GP paddock for the majority of his career. I expect Redding is the name that Rea is the most concerned about as we approach the first round of 2021 WSBK.
Rea’s Kawasaki teammate Alex Lowes is capable of winning races, and so too is BMW man Michael van der Mark, so you can’t completely write them off. That said, both would have to seriously up their consistency game to stand a chance of winning the 2021 WSBK Championship.
What about Honda with the new Fireblade, I hear you ask? In Alvaro Bautista and Leon Haslam, they’ve got two of the best and most experienced riders on the grid, but the results last year didn’t reflect that. With only one podium finish between them last year (a third for Bautista at Aragon), Honda’s new team boss Leon Camier will be hoping to turn HRC’s fortunes round in 2021. But he’ll have his work cut out.
So in summation, I’d have to put my money on Jonathon Rea to take the title once again in the 2021 WSBK Championship. But if I’m being honest, I’d sooner see someone else don the WSBK crown. I’ve got nothing against JR, but seeing him win time after time is getting a bit boring. And besides, if he’s that good, why isn’t he in MotoGP? That’s a topic for another day, though.
Who’s your money on?