The upcoming season is expected to be an exciting one.
Every season has a story of its own and it all starts with the many changes that make the upcoming racing year different to the one that drew to a close. New rider arrivals and departures, rule changes, potential calendar modifications and many more variables create a new mix that heavily shapes the season to come.
2015 will be no different, with many changes, large and small in store for teams, riders and manufacturers. After being crowned the 2014 WorldSBK Champion less than one and a half months ago, Sylvain Guintoli will begin his first title defence aboard a much different machine than the one he won the championship on in Qatar.
The 32 year old Frenchman has in fact joined the Pata Honda World Superbike Team and will partner the World Supersport Champion Michael van der Mark, while long-time Honda rider Jonathan Rea has made a historical move to the Kawasaki Racing Team to share the pit-box with 2013 series winner and fellow Briton Tom Sykes.
With no official Aprilia squad on the entry list for the first time since 2009, The Red Devils Team will take the responsibility to build on the successes achieved by Aprilia in 2014. Leon Haslam and WorldSBK rookie Jordi Torres are the riders chosen to race the new RSV4 RR machines for the Italian manufacturer’s new factory supported squad.
The only squad to leave everything almost untouched is the Ducati Superbike Team. Both Davide Giugliano and Chaz Davies are eager to see the in-race potential of the 2015 1199 Panigale R, which has been modified – like all the other machines – to suit the technical rules changes that come into place next year.
Voltcom Crescent Suzuki is another team who has undergone a significant renovation. Former Grand Prix star Randy De Puniet has joined the English based squad whilst Alex Lowes will be supported by an almost all-new crew, including returning Crescent member Pete Jennings (Lowes’ new crew chief).
Toni Elias and Ayrton Badovini will spearhead JR Racing Team’s maiden WSBK campaign, while former 125cc World Champion Nico Terol and Italian Matteo Baiocco will race aboard Team Althea’s 1199 Panigale R machines.
Team Hero EBR will return to the action with Niccolò Canepa and Larry Pegram. The experienced American rider will also be in charge of managing the team, which will continue to have its European base in Northern Italy.
BMW Motorrad Italia has confirmed Sylvain Barrier as the team’s sole rider for the upcoming season, hoping to turn the page on a challenging 2014.
There is still no official news about MV Agusta’s WSBK plans for 2015, even though the Italian brand has already performed a test with Leon Camier at Jerez.
2015 will also see a number of other changes as Kawasaki provide factory support to a second team for the first time ever, David Salom, the 2014 EVO class winner already announced as one of the riders to compete under the Pedercini banner.
2014 STK1000 winner Leandro ‘Tati’ Mercado returns to WSBK, the Argentine rider spearheading Barni Racing’s debut into the series. The team will remain with Ducati machinery.
There will also be several full time rookie riders contesting the 2015 edition of the WSBK championship. Christophe Ponsson will join the ever increasing list of debutants on the grid in Phillip Island, the young Frenchman will race for Grillini Racing.
After an intense testing schedule in January, the riders will then head to Australia, for the season opener of what is expected to be a closely fought and exciting 2015 eni FIM Superbike World Championship.