Eazi Grip

Innovations and intrigue: What did we learn from the Jerez WorldSBK test?

The 2020 season is over, but the 2021 build-up continues and with new machines, new riders and a new look to next year, make you sure you know the score…

The 2020 MOTUL FIM Superbike World Championship gave us a whole host of new names at the top and the emergence of a new breed of front runners too. However, Jonathan Rea (Kawasaki Racing Team WorldSBK) still clinched a sixth consecutive crown. During the Jerez test however, the 2021 ZX-10RR debuted with an instant hit, whilst also sporting a new look. Besides that, however, what other patterns came to light under the blissful Andalucian sun on Tuesday and Wednesday?

The ZX-10RR has arrived with an impact…

With a new aerodynamic front fairing to increase front end stability and allow better airflow, the Kawasaki ZX-10RR is a weapon for the others to look out for. Add on a new subframe, a more powerful engine, different rear linkages, new front forks and brakes, and the bike is as exciting as it sounds. Come the end of the test, he Jonathan Rea was going well on the used tyres but commented that he is struggling on fresh rubber; Rea expects more new items before the 2021 season begins. For teammate Alex Lowes, he was also trying fuel tank winglets to improve his feeling on the bike across both the new and old ZX-10RR, whilst day two was one of his “best days testing” with KRT.

The 2021 Yamaha begins to take shape with Razgatlioglu and Gerloff

Toprak Razgatlioglu (PATA YAMAHA WorldSBK Official Team) and Garrett Gerloff (GRT Yamaha WorldSBK Junior Team) may be in different teams but with both joined by rookies for 2021, they’re doing the bulk of the development work on the new bike. Both were testing new parts for the 2021 machine, aimed at turning better in slower corners and on Wednesday, Paul Denning was excited about a breakthrough. We also learnt that this will not be the final 2021 R1; this test showed which direction the bike should take for 2021, so that parts can start being manufactured.

Bautista chases various improvements…

Two crashes, fast laps, debriefing phone calls and seeking more, Alvaro Bautista (Team HRC) was busy at Jerez. Improved engine braking, more rear grip, sharper turning, greater agility and smoother enhanced power delivery, Bautista is requesting a lot of things back to the guys back in Japan. Leon Haslam on the other hand praised a more consistent package, whilst also commending the fast times he managed on race tyres. Saying that his and Bautista’s comments have been similar all year, there’s a clear direction the bike can take for an unchanged line-up in 2021.

The rookies are coming once again…

Andrea Locatelli (PATA YAMAHA WorldSBK Official Team), Isaac Viñales (ORELAC Racing VerdNatura), Lucas Mahias (Kawasaki Puccetti Racing) and Kohta Nozane (GRT Yamaha WorldSBK Junior Team) were at Jerez with their new teams; Loris Cresson (OUTDO Kawasaki – TPR) was on testing duties for Pedercini. In short, we learnt that Locatelli found a breakthrough on Wednesday with his team’s applause, Nozane’s style is radical, Mahias enjoyed the front end feel on his old ZX-10RR and Viñales chases electronic improvements. A Turn 6 crash for Cresson on day one didn’t put him down and he completed lots of laps. They promise a lot in 2021, but can the rookies deliver?

Perhaps a bigger lesson was what WASN’T at Jerez…

There was a big absence from the Jerez testing paddock; no Ducati and no BMW. With perfect testing conditions in the 25 degrees Celsius heat and at a track known for being a great test bed, both manufacturers opted not to join their rivals and get a good base-setting – which for the likes of Michael van der Mark, who switches manufacturers from Yamaha to BMW for 2021, could see him on the backfoot initially. However, with more testing planned in January and February, there’ll be plenty of opportunity to dial in new feelings.

Posted on Friday, November 20th, 2020 in News

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