The 2021 MOTUL FIM Superbike World Championship is starting to take shape in terms of liveries and colour schemes as the reigning Independent Champions Team GoEleven showcased their vibrant new look for the season ahead. Moving from a fluorescent red and yellow colour scheme over the past two years, the Italian team has opted for a baby blue livery to add something different to the grid for 2021.
Having taken their first victory in 2020 and thus becoming Independent Champions courtesy of Italian youngster Michael Ruben Rinaldi, the #21 has been swapped for the #7 of Chaz Davies, with Rinaldi replacing Davies in the factory team. Nonetheless, the aims for Chaz Davies are clear for 2021, as he looks to continue his momentum from the final three rounds of 2020 – he was the highest point-scorer across those final nine races.
“For the 2021 season, I just want to enjoy it to be honest,” said Davies, speaking during the Team GoEleven team launch presentation. “Hopefully, we can have a normal season without too much interruption like in 2020. I want to get 100% out of myself and this for me, in the past, has always been the approach, instead of setting a big target or speaking too much beforehand. I’m confident that if I’m happy and that if I can have the correct support from Ducati, then we can achieve the same results that we achieved in the past: fighting for the podium and winning many races!”
Davies signed off his 2020 season with one last win at the factory Ducati team in Race 2 at Estoril, the last time he rode a bike. Now, having battled COVID-19, he’s looking forward to returning to the circuit soon: “I’ve been recovering from COVID-19, but I’m all better now and I’ve been training again, ready for the start of the season in two months and even ready for our next test in two weeks.
“It’s been a long time since I was on the Ducati Panigale V4 R, as it was Estoril last year at the end of last season but of course, I had great memories. I always look forward to the feeling of getting back on the bike, especially the first laps where they are nice and calm, and you can enjoy it a little bit. I am always keeping myself busy as in my free time, I ride other types of motorcycles.”
One of the main take-aways from the presentation is the striking new livery from Team GoEleven; gone is the fluorescent red and yellow and in its place, is a toned down, ice cool baby blue, some Davies approved of: “I really like the new livery! Obviously as a rider, it isn’t something you have a lot of input in, and you hope you like the design, but I absolutely love this colour and it is nice to have something different on the grid for 2021!”
With this being his first Independent team since 2013, Davies reflected on his life-long ambition of being a professional racer: “Being a rider is always something you dream of when you are younger, but for me to realise this dream and to turn it into a job is the ultimate for me! I feel very fortunate to be able to call this work. At this stage of my life, this passion is very difficult to achieve by yourself and behind me and most good sports people, there’s a strong family; for me, it is my wife and our daughter and that has been a very positive influence on my life.”
Team manager Denis Sacchetti commented on this year’s motorcycle, saying it is continued developement: “It’s not a revolution, it is a continuous improvement from the starting product, the 2019 motorcycle. Ducati’s heart always beats for competition and to get the most out of it. If we go to the details, we have tried to balance the weights of the bike in a different way, this is perhaps the most important part, it has a new tank a new seat… these are improvements on a starting base that was already optimal.”
Sacchetti also welcomed Chaz Davies into the team and looks forward to working with the Welshman this year: “We know that he’s one of the strongest riders in World Superbike, he has achieved incredible results in recent years, with a lot of consistency, and I think he has proven to be the closest rider to Jonny Rea.”
Sacchetti continued, this time about the enhanced collaboration with Ducati, as they are far more aligned than when the project began back in 2019: “Working with Ducati is a source of pride; above all, we are proud and happy of the support we are receiving and the confidence that Ducati is giving us. We have come here gradually, ensuring every step has been taken. It is a satisfaction to collaborate with them and I thank them for the trust they have given us all, from Paolo Ciabatti to Gigi Dall´Igna and everyone from the Aruba Racing part. We started this relationship in 2019, as a private team and, over the years, this relationship has been reinforced and today, we find ourselves here with a winning motorcycle and rider.”
Marco Zambenedetti, Ducati Corse WorldSBK’s technical coordinator, commented on the year ahead and the enhanced collaboration between the manufacturer and the team: “This year the Covid has complicated our plans a bit, it has not been possible to shoot as we wanted, so the appointment has moved to Barcelona, where we will all be together again. I am very happy that Chaz continues his adventure with Ducati, there is still a lot of work to do and a lot of satisfaction to come. We as Ducati are very close to Team GoEleven and we are looking to create a more established group.”