Racing News: 2021 WSBK Line-up Announced
The full line-up of World Superbike protagonists has been unveiled and with two seats still up for grabs, WSBK say the season to come promises to be one of the most spectacular yet with last year being cut so short due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
The 2021 MOTUL FIM Superbike World Championship will feature 24 riders across five different manufacturers, as the full entry-lists are revealed ahead of the season. More manufacturer presence from Kawasaki and BMW and nine rookies are the headlines, along with a multitude of team changes and also the opportunity for two seats to still be filled.
Remaining the same for a second season is the Kawasaki Racing Team, although featuring the new ZX-10RR. The defending Champions keep Jonathan Rea, who is aiming for a seventh WSBK title, alongside Alex Lowes. Kawasaki’s presence in the Championship has also expanded, with TPR Team Pedercini Racing fielding two brand-new ZX-10RRs with Loris Cresson and Samuele Cavalieri. The Kawasaki Puccetti Racing team promoted Lucas Mahias to the class from WorldSSP, whilst the sixth and final ZX-10RR belongs to Isaac Viñales at the Orelac Racing VerdNatura team.
Moving on to the Ducati onslaught for 2021 and the Aruba.It Racing – Ducati team continue with Scott Redding for another season, whilst Italian star Michael Ruben Rinaldi gets his dream opportunity in the factory team. Chaz Davies (Team GoEleven) replaces the Italian as they switch seats, whilst Tito Rabat (Barni Racing Team) joins the WSBK paddock for 2021. Axel Bassani is the youngest rider on the grid for Motocorsa Racing, aged just 21.
The youngest factory team in the WSBK class is fielded by Yamaha. Toprak Razgatlioglu (PATA Yamaha WorldSBK Team) leads the team with reigning WorldSSP Champion Andrea Locatelli joining him – the exact same age as they share the same birthday (24). The GRT Yamaha WSBK Team retain Garrett Gerloff in the quest for more podiums whilst Japanese champion Kohta Nozane is alongside the American. Yamaha’s final team is the Gil Motor Sport – Yamaha squad, fielding Christophe Ponsson.
Honda’s factory line-up remains unchanged for 2021; Alvaro Bautista (Team HRC) heads into his third World Superbike campaign and is joined once again by Leon Haslam. In contrast to Yamaha, this is the oldest World Superbike team by age of the riders. The manufacturer’s Independent team will be the MIE Racing Honda Team with two bikes, both of which are yet to be announced.
The BMW effort also expands in 2021. The BMW Motorrad World Superbike Team to keep Tom Sykes for a third season, he has a new teammate again in the shape of Michael van der Mark – one of the earliest confirmations on the 2021 grid. The German manufacturer will also enjoy two satellite teams for the year ahead with Eugene Laverty (RC Squadra Corse) and Jonas Folger (Bonovo MGM Racing) at the helm.
In total, 11 nationalities from three continents will battle it out in the premier class of motorcycle production-derived racing. With 22 riders already confirmed and two more to go, a 24-rider field will take to the track at the TT Circuit Assen from the 23rd – 25th April for yet another scintillating season of World Superbike action and drama.