THE GOLDEN ERA CONTINUES: 23 riders from 13 countries to fight for glory in 2023
13 different countries will be represented on the WorldSBK grid in 2023, with only three of them having multiple riders
The MOTUL FIM Superbike World Championship grid is set for the full campaign in 2023 with 23 riders on the provisional permanent entry list. The 23 riders come from 13 different countries to make up a grid from all around the world, with five continents making up the list of nationalities on the grid. Only three countries have multiple riders representing them in 2023, while there are two countries with the joint-most representatives at five each and the total number of nationalities is just two shy of a WorldSBK record.
How does the 13 nationalities on the 2023 grid compare to previous years? In 2022, 15 different nationalities lined up on the grid for Race 1, a joint record along with 1989 and 1996. The fewest nationalities came in 2003 when only five lined up, with Italy having 10 representatives that season, compared to five in 2023; the joint-highest on the grid this season along with the United Kingdom. This is similar to last year when Italy had five riders on the grid.
Malaysia is once again represented on the WorldSBK grid in the form of Hafizh Syahrin at the MIE Racing Honda Team as he embarks on his second campaign in the Championship. He is joined by Brazil’s Eric Granado at the team for his maiden WorldSBK campaign as they look to move MIE Honda up the order. 2021 Champion Toprak Razgatlioglu (Pata Yamaha Prometeon WorldSBK) returns as he looks to take his second title, giving Turkey representation on the grid once again.
There’s another season of American representation as Garrett Gerloff (Bonovo Action BMW) embarks on his fourth WorldSBK campaign but his first with BMW; he is joined by Loris Baz at the team to keep France on the grid for another season. Heading across the globe, Remy Gardner (GYTR GRT Yamaha WorldSBK Team) will bring Australia back to the grid and become the 127th rider from Down Under to race in WorldSBK, while he is joined by Swiss rider Dominique Aegerter for his rookie campaign.
Three more countries are represented by one rider on the 2023 grid. The Netherlands will have Michael van der Mark (ROKiT BMW Motorrad WorldSBK Team) flying the flag for them once again as he heads into 2023 fully fit, Germany will be cheering on Phillip Oettl (Team GoEleven) for his second season and the Czech Republic can continue watching Oliver Konig (Orelac Racing MOVISIO) as he, like Oettl, starts his second WorldSBK campaign.
Spain will have three riders on the grid this season. After taking his first title last season, Alvaro Bautista (Aruba.it Racing – Ducati) will run the #1 plate and aim to defend his title, while the other two riders from Spain both compete for the same team. Iker Lecuona (Team HRC) and teammate Xavi Vierge are both set for their second WorldSBK seasons after a strong rookie campaign each as they go in search of strong results.
Italy and the United Kingdom are the countries with the most representation on the 2023 grid, with five riders each. Michael Ruben Rinaldi (Aruba.it Racing – Ducati) will be aiming to stand on the top step of the podium once again and see the Italian flag above him, while Andrea Locatelli (Pata Yamaha Prometeon WorldSBK) will hope that happens to him for the first time in WorldSBK. After finishing 2022 as the top Independent Rider, Axel Bassani (Motocorsa Racing) will be aiming for more of the same in 2023, while the final two riders from Italy are rookies: two-time MotoGP™ race winner Danilo Petrucci (Barni Spark Racing Team) and WorldSSP runner-up Lorenzo Baldassarri (GMT94 Yamaha).
From the UK, Kawasaki Racing Team WorldSBK duo Jonathan Rea and Alex Lowes lead the charge as they look to take the title back for the Japanese manufacturer, while Tom Sykes (Kawasaki Puccetti Racing) returns to WorldSBK after a year competing in the British Superbike championship. Scott Redding (ROKiT BMW Motorrad WorldSBK Team) will be aiming for more podiums in his second season on the M 1000 RR, while Bradley Ray (Yamaha Motoxracing WorldSBK Team) is a rookie heading in 2023; the reigning British champion will take part in the European rounds this season.
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