With the 2020 World Superbike Championship (WSBK) racing season truncated by the spread of Covid-19 and associated social distancing measures, teams are now preparing for the second race of this year. To be held at Jerez, Spain on the weekend on July 31 to August 2, the WSBK race follows the MotoGP season opener the weekend before.
Incumbents for the WSBK title in 2020 along with five-time championship winner Jonathan Rea, Kawasaki Racing Team (KRT) are preparing for testing at the Montmelo circuit near Barcelona, Spain. Campaigning the Ninja ZX-10RR, Rea and team mate Alex Lowes will use the final shakedown test at Montmelo before heading to Jerez when racing proper begins after activities were suspended in March.
Spending most of the lockdown period in Misano where KRT performed a two-day test, Rea has been living the “van life.” “I have been pretty much cycling around Italy with Fabien Foret and my mate Gaz for a good few days, in the campground I often stay at in Misano while observing social distancing. I have been cycling a lot, basically smashing the pedals,” said Rea.
For challengers Pata Yamaha, testing begins this week at the Catalunya circuit with Yamaha backed GRT Yamaha Junior Team and Ten Kate Racing Yamaha joining the official factory team. After winning the WSBK season opener in Australia, Yamaha are hoping Toprak Razgatl?o?lu will continue his competitive streak on the Yamaha YZF-R1.
Obtaining special permission to travel to Catalunya, Razgatl?o?lu currently sits third in the WSBK championship standings, behind Lowes at the top and Scott Redding, riding for Ducati, in second. The Yamaha teams return to racing after a four-month hiatus due to pandemic lockdowns and all riders will be using the Catalunya test to reacquaint themselves with their race machines.
Meanwhile, BMW Motorrad WorldSBK Team riders Tom Sykes and Eugene Laverty concluded testing on their BMW Motorrad S1000RRs at Lausitzring, Germany, ahead of travelling to Spain. Using the time at Lausitzring to gather data, both Sykes and Laverty are confident of their chances in the 2020 WSBK season.
“After such a long period off the bike with this tricky moment in time, it is an absolute pleasure to be here at the Lausitzring and back testing with the BMW Motorrad WorldSBK Team. It is fair to say that while everybody was stuck at home there has been a lot of work going on, certainly a lot of development, so this test has proved to be very vital,” Sykes said.
Setting a scorching pace at Misano ahead of this week’s Catalunya test was Scott Redding on the Ducati Panigale V4R. Clocking a time only 135 thousandths of a second off the fastest MotoGP lap at Misano, Redding, who moved to WSBK after racing in MotoGP with Aprilia, was consistently on race pace despite the lack of saddle time due to pandemic lockdowns.
“These were three very positive days as it was important to regain the feeling with the bike. We have worked a lot especially with used tyres and we have tried new solutions that have given positive feedback. I’ve been working out a lot these months with the goal of losing weight,” said Redding.
GALLERY: 2020 Kawasaki Racing Team
GALLERY: 2020 PATA Yamaha WSBK Team
GALLERY: 2020 BMW Motorrad WorldSBK Team
GALLERY: 2020 Ducati WSBK Team
Coming with diverse and extensive experience in heavy engineering, Mohan enjoys making anything with wheels go fast, especially motorcycles. His weapon of choice is the Desmoquattro engine, and he has a penchant for anything with a dash of Italian design. Strangely enough, he insists he’s a slow rider.