After three years in the Motocorsa Racing family, Axel Bassani will move out and up to the factory Kawasaki effort for next year
One of the biggest names on the rider market has found a seat for 2024, with Axel Bassani (Motocorsa Racing) being snapped up by the Kawasaki Racing Team WorldSBK for next year. The 24-year-old Italian, who has been on the lookout for a factory ride for the past two seasons, will now have the opportunities of his childhood dreams, racing in factory green alongside Alex Lowes. Kawasaki thus become the fourth manufacturer to confirm their factory line-up, with just Honda remaining at the time of announcement; check out all you need to know about 2024’s grid here!
WORKING HARD: coming the long way to achieve a childhood dream
Bassani first started out in the European Superstock 600 Championship with Kawasaki in 2015, where he took a podium with P2 at Magny-Cours; little did the Venetian know back then that ten seasons later, he’d be back in green and with the mighty force of the Provec Racing squad. 2016 saw ‘El Bocia’ move up to WorldSSP, where he competed in the FIM Europe Cup, taking the title and finishing 12th overall with a best of fourth at his beloved Magny-Cours.
It was back to Italy for 2018 and 2019 to learn his craft on Superbike machinery; first, a BMW S1000RR in CIV on his way to fifth in the standings, before a Yamaha with the Motoxracing outfit saw him grow in stature to the podium. 2020 beckoned and the truncated season saw him move to the Motoxracing outfit and whilst it was a solid end to the year, only two top ten results were achieved.
OPPORTUNITY KNOCKS: a WorldSBK podium finisher as a rookie
However, Bassani’s talent was never in question and after a year competing at the European rounds of the WorldSBK calendar, Lorenzo Mauri’s Motocorsa Racing expanded to cover the full season and with that, the #47 was their chosen rider. A slow start in the bottom end of the points upscaled into a top six finish by the Superpole Race at Misano and the top ten became a new home for the rider from Feltre. However, he staked his claim most notably at the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya, when he led until just a few laps to go, eventually coming home in P2 for a career-first podium and jubilant scenes in Parc Ferme.
After four top five finishes in the last five races, Bassani was one to watch for 2022 and he was straight away a podium challenger. Three podiums, improved results and consistency welcomed him to seventh overall, whilst so far in 2023, he led a race at Imola and looked set for a home victory, only to finish second to Toprak Razgatlioglu (Pata Yamaha Prometeon WorldSBK). Two podiums thus far but stellar consistency, he’s fifth overall and wants to consolidate that and Best Independent status in the final two rounds of the season.
IN THEIR OWN WORDS: “I’m really happy for the important opportunity Kawasaki is offering me”
Speaking about the deal and a new chapter on the horizon, Bassani said: “I'm really happy for the important opportunity that Kawasaki is offering me. I will give the best of myself on and off the track to achieve the best possible results, hoping to give all the Kawasaki fans great emotions and satisfaction! I want to thank my family for the sacrifices made and Lorenzo Mauri for the path we have taken together which has allowed me to stand out in recent years. See you soon on the track.”
“FRESH, SINCERE, FUN”: Roda welcomes Bassani following “rethink” after Rea departure
Guim Roda, team manager for KRT and indeed Provec Racing, was elated to welcome the Italian youngster: “Our 2024 strategy was set months ago, but Rea's move made us rethink the organisational logic at KRT. We spoke internally with KMC and the decision was to take a younger rider with the potential to win races and who knew how to take advantage of all the KRT experience. His image is fresh, sincere, fun and has a lot of potential to represent Kawasaki's image in the world. Alex Lowes will now need to apply all of his experience, while Axel will have a bit of time to learn. We are very happy with the structure we have proposed for 2024 and we are very motivated to enjoy racing and take advantage of the best aspects of the Ninja ZX-10RR. I hope the fans enjoy next season with this latest project we are working on.”
“WE ARE DELIGHTED TO HAVE SIGNED AXEL” – Steve Guttridge keen to see Bassani in action
Steve Guttridge, Kawasaki Motors Europe Race planning manager, stated: “Whilst we continue to compete for wins and podiums in the remaining races of the 2023 season with Jonathan and Alex, already the Kawasaki Racing Team is long-term planning for next season. It is almost impossible to express the impact that Jonathan has had within the Kawasaki racing family and as he leaves us at the end of the season there is a golden opportunity for a rider new to our racing project to make an impression. We are delighted to have signed Axel and our feeling is that his impressive track record so far is only a small indication of his future potential. We look forward to realizing that potential and seeing him blossom on the KRT Ninja ZX-10RR.”
“END OF ONE INCREDIBLE CHAPTER, BEGINNING OF ANOTHER” – Kawasaki’s reaction in Japan
General Manager of Marketing and Sales Division, Shigemi Tanaka of Kawasaki Motors Corporation Japan, concluded: “Our WorldSBK racing project has achieved multiple manufacturer and rider World Championships in recent years; first with Tom Sykes and then thanks to Jonathan Rea. The news that Jonathan will move elsewhere in 2024 signifies the end of one incredible chapter and the beginning of another in Kawasaki’s illustrious racing history. The global Kawasaki family welcomes the news that Axel Bassani joins the KRT racing project for the coming season and we are confident that, in partnership with Alex Lowes, we will once again field two exciting and success-hungry riders on our iconic Ninja machinery in the 2024 WorldSBK Championship.
KAWASAKI’S ABILITY TO NURTURE TALENT: Bassani the latest diamond in the making?
The Provec Racing outfit have been at the helm of Kawasaki’s WorldSBK effort since 2012 and have fostered young talent to maximising their potential. Tom Sykes took the team’s first title in 2013 after being a regular winner in 2012, whilst Loris Baz was a race winner in both seasons. In 2015, Jonathan Rea’s potential was unleashed when he won the first of six straight titles for the squad. Leon Haslam took podiums for them in 2019, whilst current rider Alex Lowes was a race winner for the team in just his third race with them, back at Phillip Island in 2020. With Rea moving out to Yamaha, Bassani becomes the latest in a long line of riders who have unequivocal potential to be guided by this multiple-Championship winning team.
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