Circuito Estoril Test – October, 2020
The 2020 MOTUL FIM Superbike World Championship season may have wrapped up, but attention has already turned to the 2021 season with a one-day test at the Circuito Estoril that was cut short by weather. The circuit had hosted the final round of the 2020 season and was being used by a handful of teams to work with new recruits or gain some valuable extra track time.
Eight riders took to the Portuguese track for the test including Championship runner-up Scott Redding (ARUBA.IT Racing – Ducati), who topped the times, alongside new teammate Michael Ruben Rinaldi; the Italian making the switch from Team GOELEVEN to ARUBA.IT Racing for the 2021 season. Rinaldi finished the day in third place, half a second down on his teammate.
“We have tried a few things that will be useful next season and the result was positive. Despite the rain that forced us to close the test very early, we were able to gather positive information that Ducati can work on in winter. Now I’m going to take a little break but I’ll start training soon so that I can arrive in ideal conditions at the beginning of next season.”
“Unfortunately the rain ruined our plan but we still had the chance to complete a few laps to start collecting data to work on. The sensations are extremely positive. I was surprised by the 2020 version of the Ducati Panigale V4 R, especially the braking areas. I can’t wait to get back on track.”
Michael van der Mark got his first taste of the BMW S 1000 RR machine as he took to the track for the first time with his new team, alongside Tom Sykes (BMW Motorrad WorldSBK team).
The BMW team had a development plan that included a new engine and a new gearbox, different chassis stiffness, carbon wheels and the aerodynamic package from the M 1000 RR; the package scheduled to come in after the team clarified some data.
Pictures of Michael van der Mark show him testing out the new M 1000 RR package, notably the inclusion of new M winglets, which we’ve also seen on the recently announced 2021 BMW M 1000 RR. For a full run down on the new model check out – New BMW M RR homologation special (link).
2020 FIM Supersport World Championship title winner Andrea Locatelli made his debut with the PATA YAMAHA WorldSBK Official Team as he used the test to help him get to know his new team and colleagues ahead of the 2021 season. Locatelli posted a time of 1’38.720s during the test before the rain fell in Portugal.
“Very nice first impressions, we didn’t do too many laps but the feeling with the Yamaha R1 is incredible immediately. It’s important to use this test to try to understand everything with the bike and now I am more confident, particularly with the braking. It’s the first time riding the R1 for me, and now we have a good base to work on ahead of the next test in Jerez. I’m really excited because the guys at Pata Yamaha are very professional and we are already working well together. I’m happy with the electronics and we need to understand the grip and tyres a little more, but step-by-step we are making some good progress. Before coming here, I talked with Andrew Pitt and Andrea Dosoli to ensure I got some experience within the team and the test was always a good opportunity for me. Today’s not a great day with the conditions but at least I’ve had some time to understand the bike and I’m really looking forward to the next one.”
Kawasaki Racing Team WorldSBK were present at the test with Alex Lowes as they aimed to help the British rider optimise the base setup and make preparations for upcoming tests, with the team not trying any new parts at Estoril. Lowes was the second-fastest rider during the test, around three tenths off Redding’s 1’36.581s.
Belgian rider Loris Cresson continued working with the OUTDO Kawasaki TPR team, where he made his WorldSBK debut during the Estoril Round, during the test after making the step up from WorldSSP where he had been competing during 2020, while Axel Bassani got his first taste of WorldSBK action as he tested for the Motocorsa Racing squad.
The test had been scheduled to finish at 6pm Local Time but the track action stopped early when the rain started to fall, with riders not taking to the track as the rain got heavier. It meant the day’s running came to a premature end with Redding on top, followed by Lowes, Rinaldi, Sykes, van der Mark, Locatelli, Bassani and Cresson.