The New Era of WorldSBK is Nearly Here: Who to Watch For at the Australian WorldSBK

By February 15, 2024 WorldSBK

The New Era of WorldSBK is Nearly Here: Who to Watch For at the Australian WorldSBK

WorldSBK By February 15, 2024

The dynamic duo is out, and the New Era is in! Rivalries are already starting to form in the new look WorldSBK grid lineup, and one of the grids rookie riders already has a large target on his back.

One of the key stories emerging from pre-season testing has been none other than Nicolo Bulega of Aruba.it Racing – Ducati. Despite his rookie status, the 2023 World Supersport Champion has shown some serious pace amongst the field, finishing both days of testing at Jerez, and the opening day of testing at Portimao.

When it wasn’t Bulega on top of the timesheets, it was Toprak Razgatlioglu who finished on top on the final day of testing at Portimao, leaving the question to be asked… Will it be a Bulega-Razgatlioglu / Ducati-BMW showdown at the Grand Ridge Brewery Australian Round?

Following very closely behind, is the new man in blue; Jonathan Rea of Pata Prometeon Yamaha, who we are certain will join the rivalry at the front. In what is set to be a ‘restart’ season for six-time World Champion Rea, will his seventh title be within reach?

The 2024 Grand Ridge Brewery Australian Round will also see Australian Remy Gardner start his second season in World Superbikes, and his second season with the GYTR GRT Yamaha WorldSBK team. There is no arguing that Gardner has been putting in the hard yards during the off-season, completing 324 laps across four days of testing, which ultimately landed him top of the Yamaha’s and fourth fastest overall in Portimao testing last month.

Major changes in the KRT pit garage also means one rider in particular has some big shoes to fill, with Axel Bassani moving on from Ducati after his first three years in WorldSBK to fill the empty seat that was vacated by Jonathan Rea.

 Speaking after his second test with the bike after Jerez, Bassani stated: “Now, I’ve started to feel good with the bike; it’s not easy because it’s completely different compared to the Ducati but step-by-step, test-by-test, we’re starting to feel good. Having a teammate is good because you can work with them and learn about their riding. It’s nice and they’re always your first opponent! We’re slowly arriving to Alex. We only need to enjoy and find a good way to follow during this winter for next year.”

 

Continuing after further testing into 2024, he said: “The pressure is normal; like last year, I just want to do my best so it’s normal for me. I’m really happy to be with Kawasaki, a good team, good guys. I want to take my first win but it’s not easy, as the level is super high and all the riders are good riders. We’ll see what happens but if we continue working hard and believing, we will arrive.”

 

Andrea Iannone (Team GoEleven) has been turning heads since he first jumped on the Panigale V4 R at Jerez last year, and that’s been continuing in 2024. Fast at the Spanish venue and Portimao shortly after, ‘The Maniac’ looks well and truly ready for competition. Danilo Petrucci (Barni Spark Racing Team) comes into 2024 on the back of a stunning rookie campaign where he scored podiums and will look for a first win. Is there a possibility Iannone beats him to that first WorldSBK victory, and could they battle hard but share the rostrum together?

Don’t miss a second of the action from the 2024 MOTUL FIM Superbike World Championship, Grand Ridge Brewery Australian Round – 23 – 25th February 2024.
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