Everyone’s hoping to start on April 25th, COVID-19 permitting. The fact is, teams and riders have been sharpening their weapons, and getting ready these past few weeks in view of the new season. The Superbike grid has practically been defined, even if a few pieces are still missing.
In 2021, we’ll see five official teams on the starting blocks of the Championship: BMW, Ducati, Honda, Kawasaki and Yamaha, as well as twelve satellites, for a total of sixteen teams.
There are twenty-one current riders confirmed, including the new entries: Folger, Mahias, Nozane, as well as Isaac Vinales, Rabat, Cresson, and Bassani.
They seem to have completed the line-up, but some questions remain unsolved. One of these undoubtedly concerns Ten Kate. With Baz’s farewell – he’ll be starting in the MotoAmerica with Ducati – the Dutch team is trying to figure out what to do, even if their chance of returning to the top class is slight. But they certainly don’t want to give up the Superbike in the Netherlands, with the aim of finding a sponsor who can guarantee the right financial support.
With regard to Honda, MIE has not yet revealed its plans for 2021. But Midori Moriwaki’s team is working to secure Tati Mercado. The rider from Argentina is, in fact, the Japanese manager’s number one goal, so much so that the negotiations between the parties have begun. The idea whetted the South American rider’s appetite, also because the only alternatives came from the CEV.
Mercado aside, we have to figure out what Sandro Cortese will end up doing. As we all know, he’s continuing his rehab after his accident this summer in Portimao. Currently, the German rider has only one proposal on the table. Too bad there’s no suit to wear, but a commentator’s outfit, since DAZN Deutschland offered him that role for the MotoGP races in Germany.
Finally, there’s Pedercini and the second bike that would team up with Cresson’s. Lucio has been trying to close the deal with a sponsor who can guarantee an extra contribution for the new year. So, much of the project depends on this negotiation. It’s true that the World Championship will be starting at the end of April, but better not waste any time.