Johnny is hunted by Toprak, and Scott is closing in: the fifty-first track to host a WorldSBK round will stage another battle between the three 'R's
Navarra, what can we expect? The Spanish track is the fifty-first circuit to host a WorldSBK round and is located in the north of the country. Specifically, the track is located in Los Arcos, a rural town not far from Bilbao, but closer to Pamplona.
Almost all the riders have tested the track in recent months, but just like the recent Most round, the seventh 2021 round will be interesting in terms of the excitement a new track offers.
Most again offered up a three-way battle between Rea, Razgatlioglu and Redding. Johnny leads the way with 266 points, Toprak is three behind, while Scott holds 216. Although the Northern Irish rider leads the way, the Englishman is currently on a roll, more so than the Turk.
You know the phrase "And they lived happily ever after"? And so it is that we wish Redding and his future bride all the very best, Scott and Jacey Hayden now ready to start a life together. Congrats! But in the meantime, there’s an SBK title to win and number 45 knows it.
He’s doing his best, spurred on by the fact he’s the strongest ducatista on track right now. The bulldog hasn’t yet renewed his contract for 2022, because it also depends on the (possible) arrival of Alvaro Bautista or Danilo Petrucci. Ducati needs to consider its next moves carefully.
Scott, third in the standings and 50 points from Rea, is well aware of this and is in shape. And he’s winning. To date, Redding has scored three partial wins. No one has managed it with the current V4 R, a competitive but rather unique bike.
Did you see the kind of move Toprak made on Redding? Well that perfectly sums up the Turk’s repertoire – speed, acrobatics, daring and determination. With these traits, Kenan Sofuoglu’s pupil has already been able to project Yamaha into first place overall.
The R1 M appears to be the most complete Superbike on the grid - Ducati is strong in acceleration, the Kawasaki is precise, but the blue four-cylinder is the real all-rounder. And we apologise for not citing Honda and BMW but… you know how it is, the CBR and the M1000 RR appearing fairly inconsistent.
The Pata with Brixx team on the other hand seems very solid, Toprak and rookie Andrea Locatelli both very strong. The Iwata contingent has also tested at Navarra, so it will be an equal playing field come the race weekend.
Six titles, no small feat. Johnny and the Ninja make for a winning team, confirmed by both the stats and their rivals. Although there may be a few doubts, in this precise moment, about the real capabilities of the ZX-10RR, the impression being that the Akashi team’s performance has plateaued somewhat since the start of the year.
We’ll see whether this is the case at Navarra. The Cannibal didn’t excel at Most, and so he will want to make up for what he lost in the Czech Republic. Two consecutive crashes leave a mark, luckily not a physical one in his case, but perhaps an emotional one.
Also consider the fact that while Redding often has other Ducatis with him up front, and Razgatlioglu can count on Locatelli (though less so on Gerloff), the number 1 rider is – on the contrary – the only man in green to stand out. How long can he hold on?
Translated by Heather Watson