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How is the 2021 WorldSBK grid shaping up and what seats are still available?

Tuesday, 1 December 2020 08:52 GMT

Up and down the grid, riders are preparing for 2021 and there are new teams and new faces lining up on the grid alongside familiar names...

The 2021 MOTUL FIM Superbike World Championship grid is starting to take shape with more riders being confirmed in the run up to the season-finale at Estoril but with some high-profile riders and teams yet to confirm their plans for next season. There will be new and familiar faces on the grid in 2021 and here we detail who has been confirmed so far.

All five factory teams have confirmed their line-ups for next season with Jonathan Rea and Alex Lowes remaining at Kawasaki Racing Team WorldSBK and Alvaro Bautista and Leon Haslam staying at Team HRC; the only two manufacturers who have kept the same line-up for 2021 as they had in 2020.

The PATA YAMAHA WorldSBK Official Team has one new rider for the 2021 season with Andrea Locatelli making the step up to the factory Yamaha team after a stunning debut WorldSSP campaign; the Italian replacing Michael van der Mark who is heading to BMW Motorrad WorldSBK Team to partner Tom Sykes. There is change at ARUBA.IT Racing – Ducati too as Michael Ruben Rinaldi moves from Team GOELEVEN to replace Chaz Davies, with the Welshman currently without a ride for 2021.

American star Garrett Gerloff will continue for a second season at GRT Yamaha WorldSBK Junior Team, joined in 2021 by a new teammate as Japanese rookie Kohta Nozane enters the WorldSBK paddock for the first time. Federico Caricasulo currently does not have a seat for 2021 after his rookie WorldSBK campaign with GRT Yamaha.

Locatelli is not the only rider moving up from WorldSSP after a strong 2020 season with Lucas Mahias sticking with Kawasaki Puccetti Racing for 2021 but in WorldSBK rather than WorldSSP, while Isaac Viñales graduates with ORELAC Racing VerdNatura.

There are currently three teams who entered WorldSBK full-time in 2020 who have not confirmed their line-up for the 2021 season, including Ten Kate Racing Yamaha; who duelled it out for Independent honours for both team and rider with Team GOELEVEN. While Rinaldi has his future sorted, Loris Baz, who claimed four podiums for Ten Kate Racing in 2020, is still waiting for confirmation on his future. Neither Brixx Performance, who ran with Sylvain Barrier in 2020, nor Motocorsa Racing, who competed with Leandro Mercado, Matteo Ferrari and Lorenzo Zanetti, have confirmed plans for 2021.

Takumi Takahashi competed for MIE Racing HONDA Team in 2020 but nothing has been confirmed about where his future will be. At Motocorsa Racing, Leandro ‘Tati’ Mercado recently announced he would not be with the team in 2021 with Axel Bassani completing a one-day test at Estoril for the team the day after the chequered flag fell on the 2020 season.

The BMW satellite setup has now been confirmed with two teams competing in WorldSBK using BMW machinery alongside the factory team with Eugene Laverty competing for RC Squadra Corse and Jonas Folger with Bonovo Action after impressing during two wildcard appearances in 2020.

Fresh from competing in three wildcard appearances throughout 2020 using Aprilia machinery, Frenchman Christophe Ponsson will return to the grid but this time on a Yamaha as he joins the grid for a full-season assault with Team Gil Motor Sport.

OUTDO Kawasaki TPR will keep Loris Cresson at the team for 2021 and 2022 after the Belgian rider made his debut in WorldSBK for the team at the season-ending Estoril Round before continuing to test for the team at Jerez and MotorLand Aragon in November. Moto2™ World Champion Tito Rabat will make his WorldSBK debut in 2021 after signing with the Barni Racing Team having competed in MotoGP™ since 2016; the Spaniard will compete on a Ducati Panigale V4 R with Barni.

Factory teams:

Kawasaki Racing Team WorldSBK #1 Jonathan Rea, #22 Alex Lowes

ARUBA.IT Racing – Ducati #45 Scott Redding, #21 Michael Ruben Rinaldi

PATA YAMAHA WorldSBK Official Team #54 Toprak Razgatlioglu, #55 Andrea Locatelli

Team HRC #19 Alvaro Bautista, #91 Leon Haslam

BMW Motorrad WorldSBK Team #66 Tom Sykes, #60 Michael van der Mark

Independent teams:

GRT Yamaha WorldSBK Junior Team #31 Garrett Gerloff, #3 Kohta Nozane

Ten Kate Racing Yamaha No rider(s) confirmed

Team GOELEVEN (Ducati) #7 Chaz Davies

Barni Racing Team (Ducati) Tito Rabat

Puccetti Kawasaki Racing #44 Lucas Mahias

OUTDO Kawasaki TPR #84 Loris Cresson

ORELAC Racing VerdNatura (Kawasaki) #32 Isaac Viñales

MIE Racing HONDA Team No rider(s) confirmed

Motocorsa Racing No rider(s) confirmed

Brixx Performance No rider(s) confirmed

RC Squadra Corse (BMW) #60 Eugene Laverty

Bonovo Action (BMW) #94 Jonas Folger

Team Gil Motor Sport (Yamaha) #23 Christophe Ponsson

Relive the incredible 2020 season and look ahead to 2021 with the WorldSBK VideoPass!