It's been exactly five months since the race on Phillip Island, Superbike's first round of the 2020 season, and upon returning from their trip to Australia the teams found themselves having to suspend everything for lockdown.
These have been difficult months, it not being clear if the championship would be able to continue, but at last the situation is slowly improving and it's now possible to proceed with the second round of a calendar that's been heavily modified by the events related to the pandemic.
So it's back to Jerez, where MotoGP held its races for the last two weekends, and thus the Superbike circus will be operating under an “anti-contagion” protocol that's already been tested by the Premier Class. Unlike the MotoGP, however, Superbike riders managed to get in a few days of test runs before arriving in Jerez. Many of the teams organised practice runs in Misano and Barcelona, useful for reacquiring a feel for the bikes and the intense climate of competition.
Scott Redding restarts the championship in second position in the overall standings, the result of three third-place finishes at Phillip Island after being among the fastest in the qualification runs. Jerez will be an important test as Redding is still getting to know the Pirelli tyres, and the torrid temperatures in Andalusia will require careful tyre management.
Chaz Davies arrives in Spain eighth in the world ranking, with only 19 points earned at Phillip Island. The Australian track is certainly not one of the Welsh rider's favourites, and he continues to have difficulties getting in sync with the Panigale V4. Jerez will be a good chance to redeem himself given his extensive experience with managing races in difficult conditions.
The asphalt of the Spanish track is extremely smooth. The resulting grip is certainly not optimal and results in a rather accentuated level of degradation of the tyres, and therefore their level of performance plunges rapidly during the race. Moreover, it will be very hot since we're in the middle of summer, which will complicate matters further.
In addition to tyre wear, the Andalusian circuit puts pressure on other aspects: from the chassis, due to the long series of hard corners, to the brakes, with two decelerations at turns 1 and 6 that engage the brake systems for more than 200 m.
The races won't be easy for the riders of Aruba.it Racing – Ducati, but we're sure that they'll give it their best. Forza Ducati!