Two days of testing kick off preparations for 2024 just days after the 2023 concluded in stunning fashion
The sun’s set on the 2023 MOTUL FIM Superbike World Championship, but it’s also already rising on the 2024 campaign. Just days after Alvaro Bautista (Aruba.it Racing – Ducati) was crowned Champion for the second consecutive year, teams and riders are back in action at the Circuito de Jerez – Angel Nieto for the first off-season test of the year and it will be one of the most important ones. With new regulations coming in for next year, and a whole host of rider line-up changes, this test could be one of the most fascinating to keep an eye on.
FIRST LOOK AT REA IN BLUE: six-time Champion makes Yamaha debut
Following his shock move to the Pata Yamaha Prometeon WorldSBK squad for 2024, Jonathan Rea will make his debut with the team at the Jerez test. He spent nine seasons with the Kawasaki Racing Team WorldSBK and Yamaha will become the third manufacturer he has competed for. His works gets underway straight away with the team, linking up with his new team including former teammate Andrew Pitt as his crew chief from Tuesday. Rea will be the only Pata Yamaha rider on track, with Andrea Locatelli not testing. The GYTR GRT Yamaha WorldSBK Team are keeping the same line-up for next season, with Dominique Aegerter and Remy Gardner staying, and they will also test this week. At GMT94 Yamaha, Brad Ray has been drafted in to test for the team, with his usual Motoxracing Yamaha WorldSBK Team not at the season finale, while his future is still up in the air.
IANNONE’S RETURN: ‘The Maniac’ is back on track
Andrea Iannone’s future was a long-rumoured topic, but it was announced that he would compete with Team GoEleven and his first appearance with the team will be at the Jerez test. After four years away from competition, ‘The Maniac’ will return to World Championship level in WorldSBK next year on an Independent Panigale V4 R, but his first outing with the team comes as soon as Tuesday when he jumps on the bike at Jerez.
BASSANI’S FACTORY TEAM DEBUT: first time for the #47 at KRT
With Rea’s move to Pata Yamaha, an opening came up at the Kawasaki Racing Team WorldSBK squad. This was filled by Axel Bassani, who moves across from Motocorsa Racing to join a factory team for the first time. His debut in green will be at the test as he tries the ZX-10RR for the first time. He’ll be joined by new teammate Alex Lowes, with the Brit remaining with the team heading into the 2024 campaign.
A NEW FACE AT DUCATI: Bulega joins the double Champion
Alvaro Bautista’s (Aruba.it Racing – Ducati) celebrations are on hold – temporarily, at least – so he can test. He said on Thursday that some of the test will be dedicated to the new 2024 regulations, albeit not with a full ’24 machine, and he will be joined by his new teammate for the first time. Nicolo Bulega was announced as a factory Ducati rider for 2024 and the reigning WorldSSP Champion will debut with the team for the first time, although it’s not his first time on the Panigale V4 R. The 23-year-old discusses what he expects from 2024 in a special Champion interview, which you can watch here.
REDDING’S FIRST APPEARANCE WITH BONOVO: a new start for the Brit
Scott Redding stays with BMW but switches to the Bonovo Action BMW team from the ROKiT BMW Motorrad WorldSBK Team squad, and his first appearance with the Independent outfit will be at the Jerez test. The #45 will be alongside new teammate Garrett Gerloff on the M1000RR, with the American in imperious form right now. The factory BMW team are saving their first test for December, when Toprak Razgatlioglu will join Michael van der Mark at Portimao and then Jerez. Yamaha Motor Europe’s Road Racing Manager, Andrea Dosoli, explained before the Spanish Round why the #54 won’t test before then.
MOTOCORSA WITH RINALDI: a new home for the Italian
His move to Motocorsa Racing was announced on Monday, and on Tuesday Michael Ruben Rinaldi will make his debut with the team. After losing his factory ride to Bulega, the #21 went in search of a new seat and stuck with familiarity, while also making a change. He’ll keep riding the Panigale V4 R machine but with the Independent Motocorsa Racing outfit, aiming to repeat the good times he enjoyed the last time he was on an Independent V4 R.
MACKENZIE STEPS UP: two-day outing with MIE Honda
After a tricky season in WorldSSP with the PETRONAS MIE Racing Honda Team, race winner Tarran Mackenzie will be on the team's WorldSBK machine at Jerez. He has tested before, at Misano, on their CBR1000RR-R machine, as well as racing it to a podium at the Suzuka 8 Hours, and he will get another two days on the bike in Spain.
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