Michael Ruben Rinaldi comes in at seventh on Crash.net’s top ten WorldSBK riders of 2021, that’s despite three wins and a fifth place championship finish.
The Italian’s first season as a Aruba.it Ducati rider was solid but unspectacular as he finished an alarming 219 points behind team-mate Scott Redding.
Rinaldi’s best moment was without doubt his double win at Misano as he bettered Jonathan Rea in race one, before doing the same to eventual series champion Toprak Razgatlioglu in the Superpole race.
Rinaldi came close to completing a hat-trick in race two, however, Razgatlioglu was able to hold off late pressure from his former Supersport rival and claim the first of his 13 wins.
The 25 year-old’s relentless pace while leading and ability to battle with the best WorldSBK has to offer was a clear demonstration of why Rinaldi could lead Ducati going forward.
But with that said, aside from a race two win in Barcelona (round nine) we rarely saw that type of performance again.
Further podiums in Assen, Catalunya and San Juan were yet more glimpses of what Rinaldi’s capable of, but the lack of consistency and poor qualifying hindered him throughout the year.
Rinaldi qualified inside the top five on just three occasions out of 13 races, while there were no front row starts for the former GoEleven Ducati rider.
Rinaldi also had just two rounds where he completed all three races in the top five, those being Misano and Catalunya.
The Italian rider will have a new team-mate in the form of Alvaro Bautista next season, and given Bautista’s stunning first season with the team in 2019 – achieved 16 wins which is the most of any Ducati rider in a single season – it will be important for Rinaldi to measure up well against the ex-MotoGP rider if he’s to indeed become the team’s leading rider for the future.
Rinaldi 2021 stats:
Championship Finish: 5th
Pole Positions: 0
Top Ten Results: 27
Points Scores: 30
Front Row Starts: 0
Overall crash total: 5