Huertas to replace Bulega at Ducati’s WorldSSP outfit for 2024

Wednesday, 13 September 2023 09:00 GMT

The Spaniard has impressed in his two WorldSSP campaigns so far and will face a new challenge next year with Ducati


Adrian Huertas (MTM Kawasaki) will take the place at the WorldSSP Racing Team vacated by Nicolo Bulega in the 2024 FIM Supersport World Championship as the Spaniard departs Kawasaki machinery. Huertas has been with the Japanese brand since 2021 in both WorldSSP and WorldSSP300 but will switch to the Ducati Panigale V2 for next season with incumbent Bulega moving to the factory Ducati WorldSBK team.

HUERTAS’ RAPID RISE: WorldSSP300 Champion, WorldSSP star

The Madrid-born rider made his WorldSSP300 debut in 2020 with ProGP Racing on Yamaha machinery but it was a switch to MTM Kawasaki in 2021 that proved to be his breakthrough. Eight podiums, including six wins, in 16 races propelled him to the title and he graduated to WorldSSP in 2022 with the same team, where he has impressed everyone in the paddock with his speed and consistency on the Kawasaki ZX-6R despite the Championship being new to both team and rider.

The 20-year-old finished his first season in 12th place but was a regular fixture in the top ten in the results, only finishing seven of his 23 races outside those positions. He scored a best result of seventh in 2022. The #99 took a big step forward this season with his results despite an injury sustained in Australia, with the Spaniard narrowly missing out on a podium on three occasions by finishing fourth including at the most recent French Round. His form in WorldSSP as well as his WorldSSP300 title persuaded Kawasaki to give him a test at the recent Aragon test with the Kawasaki Racing Team WorldSBK, where he left a positive impression.

THE SPANIARD’S DREAM: “To be the first rider to win the World Championship in all three categories!”

Despite the WorldSBK test, Huertas has opted to switch to Ducati for next season. Reflecting on the announcement, the #99 said: “I am really happy to have reached this agreement. Racing for the Racing team is a big privilege for me. I have a goal: to be the first rider to win the World Championship in all three categories. I have already succeeded in World Supersport 300, and I believe that the Racing WorldSSP team is definitely the best choice to continue believing in this goal. Becoming a Ducati rider is also a dream coming true for me. Since I was a child, I have always supported Ducati and now I will have the chance to race with the Panigale V2.”

DUCATI’S VIEW: “Adrian is unanimously considered one of the best up-and-coming riders in the WorldSBK paddock”

Team Principal Stefano Cecconi outlined his goals for the Huertas-Ducati combination, saying: “We enthusiastically welcome Adrian Huertas. We have high trust in his talent, and we are sure that he can give us great satisfaction. We appreciate the determination he showed in accepting our proposal: it confirms the quality of the project that started two years ago when we decided to embark with Feel Racing on the adventure of the World Supersport Championship. We consider the Racing WorldSSP team a sort of junior team through which we develop young riders who can then continue their careers in the official WorldSBK team, as it happened to Nicolo Bulega who will be on the Ducati Panigale V4 R next season. Adrian is unanimously considered one of the best up-and-coming riders in the WorldSBK paddock and we expect him to keep growing and achieve important results.”

AN EMOTIONAL FAREWELL FROM MTM: “Let’s get that podium and celebrate it together!”

After enjoying so much success with MTM Kawasaki, from his debut with the team in 2021 and helping grow the team in WorldSSP, Ludo Van Der Veken, MTM Kawasaki’s Team Manager, penned a heartfelt message to Huertas. It read: “Adrian, a lot of time has passed since we first met in 2020. I believed in you since the first time, because I’ve always seen something special in you, your motivation, your ambition, your wish to be the best in the world. And we did it, winning the 2021 World Supersport 300 Championship together and graduating to World Supersport once again together. Two years of contract, a big effort from our side, but we firmly believed in you and what we achieved so far means that we both were right. It was an incredible journey. Adrian, from the bottom of my heart, thank you.

"Thank you for your motivation and your attitude, which makes you special.Thank you for bringing us home the 2021 title in World Supersport 300. Thank you for two years of WorldSSP, always growing up. Thank you for always pushing us to the limit and even over. Thank you for all the emotions and the passion we lived together. It has been so special, but now it’s time to let you go. I welcomed you to MTM as a young kid with big dreams, now I let you go as a man with big targets and that’s why it’s even more special from my side. I’m proud to have been part of your journey and I’m sure you’re going to reach any single target you have, and me and all MTM Kawasaki Team will be cheering for you in your way to reach them. Thank you for everything Adrian, it has been a pleasure. Best of luck for your 2024 season, but now let’s get that podium and just celebrate it together, one more time.”

Watch the final three rounds of the 2023 WorldSSP campaign in style with the WorldSBK VideoPass!