WorldSBK Catalunya: Weekend race preview

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Picture: GeeBee Images

Despite it being the first ever round at the majestic Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya, the 2020 WorldSBK Championship has plenty of history in Spain.

Combine that with the recent form of the manufacturers and it really is a lottery as to which brand will succeed in this weekend during the Acerbis Catalan Round. With a mixture of recent results and trivia of racing in Spain, find out which manufacturer looks best this weekend.

Kawasaki is enjoying a recent upturn in form in Spain, after a tricky Jerez back in July, Jonathan Rea (Kawasaki Racing Team WorldSBK) managed to take 50% of the wins at MotorLand Aragon across the two weekends.

In terms of performance in Spain in general, the manufacturer could celebrate a 15th victory on Spanish soil and a front row would bring them to 35 front row places in the country.

A hat-trick of fastest laps would see the brand move on to 150 in total in its WorldSBK history and a podium would be the 340th. The stats sound an alarm to the rest of the paddock and manufacturers.

However, it’s Ducati who have the lead across the majority of the standings in Spain. The Italian constructor has 46 victories and a staggering 111 podium places in the country, meaning that three all-Ducati podiums would see them move on to 120 – although the last time a Ducati 1-2-3 happened was in 2012 at Assen in Race 1 and the last in Spain was back in 2004 with Race 2 at Valencia. Could that all change this weekend, given Ducati’s recent prominence?

Over at Yamaha, five wins in Spain suggest it’ll be out to improve at Catalunya, where both Toprak Razgatlioglu (PATA YAMAHA WorldSBK Official Team) and teammate Michael van der Mark were strong in testing in July – although both crashed.

A win for Yamaha here would be an 80th win for the manufacturer whilst a podium place would put it on 305. There’s an extra Yamaha in Jonas Folger this weekend, where if he gets a top ten, he’ll make it the first time since Udo Mark in 1990 and 1991 that German Yamaha riders have achieved top ten results in WorldSBK in consecutive seasons.

Honda isn’t one of the star manufacturers in Spain but after both Alvaro Bautista (Team HRC) and teammate Leon Haslam achieved their best results in the MotorLand Aragon events, there’s plenty of promise coming up.

The Japanese manufacturer last took a victory in Spain at the Ricardo Tormo venue in Valencia with James Toseland in Race 2 of 2007, whilst ‘Pocket Rocket’ Haslam comes into the inaugural Catalunya event after his best result of the year. A first front row of the year for Honda would be their 15th in Spain and a pole would be just their second in the country.

Finally, BMW aim to continue finishing inside the top ten and had a successful Catalunya test back in July. Both Tom Sykes (BMW Motorrad WorldSBK Team) and teammate Eugene Laverty were inside the top six after two days and will hope to bring BMW’s first rostrum of the year and their first in Spain since Jerez in Race 1, 2013. A race on the podium will be the German manufacturer’s 40th different race on the podium and the same applies if they lead a lap of the action.