The 2021 Superbike market has already opened. Kawasaki started negotiatons, extending its contract to Alex Lowes two weeks ago for the upcoming season. So this summer's going to be ablazing for various managers, since all the contracts of top riders are due to expire at the end of the year.
Besides Lowes, the only ones who are sure to have a bike for 2021 are Razgatlioglu, Redding, and Bautista, with the latter boasting an option with HRC for next season. Speaking of Honda, they'll have to figure out what to do in Japan with Leon Haslam.
Whether or not the British rider will remain in the official HRC team is subject to reconfirmation. Honda has great esteem for Leon, who has had great races in Phillip Island, 5th in Superpole and Race 1 and 8th in the Superpole Race. Going back about twelve months, however, Alberto Puig contacted Vergani to offer the CBR 1000 RR-R to Danilo Petrucci: “Maybe Danilo won't have Marquez's talent, but he's a rider who works like few others," is what Puig told the Italian manager. "He could race for us in the Superbike in 2020."
On that occasion, nothing was done, since Danilo already had a contract in hand with Ducati for this season. But the story's totally different a year later. Yes, because Ducati has unloaded Petrux, and now he's looking for another bike.
It might also be true that the rider from Terni's priority is the MotoGP, aiming for Aprilia or KTM. Careful though. No one in the Superbike is waiting around watching, but they're moving accordingly well in advance. This is the case with Honda, which apparently went public, asking Vergani for information a second time. This was confirmed by the manager himself during a live chat on our channel: "I can confirm that someone has already made himself heard for next season."
A simple frase, but one that also opens up new scenarios in a market that still needs to be written in the Superbike. Ducati promised Danilo a bike on the Aruba team, should he not find a place in the MotoGP. Honda immediately responded, attempting a new tactic. So HRC's idea is clear, namely, to form a two-pronged attack with Bautista and Petrucci for 2021.