Only four teams are starting 2024 in the same way as last season after some of the biggest transfers in WorldSBK history
The 2024 MOTUL FIM Superbike World Championship grid looks completely different from last year. Surprising moves, strong rookies and a new team have all conspired to give this year’s grid one of the biggest shake-ups in the Championship’s history with two Champions on the move, replacements being found and rookies looking to make their mark on WorldSBK. It’s been a massive change to the grid, and it all builds into a season that will be unmissable.
HOW IT ALL STARTED: Razgatlioglu moves from Yamaha to BMW
One of the first moves to be announced was Toprak Razgatlioglu leaving Yamaha for the ROKiT BMW Motorrad WorldSBK Team; a seismic move and yet we would see bigger just a few months later. The 2021 Champion has adapted well to the M 1000 RR, showing incredible speed and pace throughout testing. Partnered with Michael van der Mark once again, can the duo rekindle the success they had at Yamaha for the German manufacturer?
EXTRAORDINARY FOLLOWS: the Rea-KRT era ends as he joins Yamaha
With Razgatlioglu’s shock move to Yamaha came a vacant seat at Pata Prometeon Yamaha. Step up… Jonathan Rea, who ended a nine-year, six-title partnership with Kawasaki to work with the Crescent Racing-run team. Rea’s switch to blue was a shock but immediately on the pace on his R1 during testing, perhaps this is what the #65 needed to be able to fight for an unprecedented seventh WorldSBK title. He partners Andrea Locatelli this season, while there’s been some movement in the crew chiefs too, with Andrew Pitt moving across to join Rea from Locatelli’s side and Tom O’Kane joining the team.
BASSANI’S DREAM MOVE: Rea’s replacement is named
Rea’s departure opened up a seat at Kawasaki and the team opted to take a punt on a young gun in Axel Bassani. After three seasons with Motocorsa Racing and the Panigale V4 R, it’s a big change for ‘El Bocia’ to adapt to the inline-4 engine of the ZX-10RR. Bassani has often made it clear that his dream is to be in a factory team and now he has his chance, but he’ll need to capitalise on it. He was a podium contender regularly on the Ducati, how will he fare on the Kawasaki?
DUCATI MAKE THEIR OWN CHANGE: Bulega promoted from WorldSSP
This move wasn’t part of the ‘butterfly effect’ from Razgatlioglu’s shock move to BMW, yet it was a big move for several reasons. Nicolo Bulega was announced as partnering Alvaro Bautista at the Aruba.it Racing – Ducati team before he wrapped up the WorldSSP crown, and the news spurred him on. A record-breaking season in 2023 means he heads into 2024 full of confidence – which has been seen in testing, with ‘Bulegas’ often the rider to beat.
THE KNOCK-ON EFFECT: bombshell transfers and rookies change the grid
Bulega’s move to the factory Ducati outfit meant Michael Ruben Rinaldi was looking for a seat and, while there were lots of rumours about how his future depended on Marc Marquez’s decision in the MotoGP™ paddock, in the end, the #21 opted for Motocorsa Racing. Elsewhere, Razgatlioglu’s move to BMW meant they had a decision to make, with Scott Redding linking up with Bonovo Action BMW in place of Loris Baz. Andrea Iannone’s return saw him sign for Team GoEleven – and he’s also been quick – meaning Philipp Oettl was left without a ride. The German signed for GMT94 Yamaha in the end, with Lorenzo Baldassarri returning to WorldSSP. The Petronas MIE Racing Honda team promoted from within, as Tarran Mackenzie and Adam Norrodin came up from their WorldSSP squad in place of Eric Granado and Hafizh Syahrin. It didn’t have a knock-on effect, but Elf Marc VDS Racing Team with Sam Lowes as the Brit makes his WorldSBK debut this year.
SOME LINE-UPS STAY THE SAME: four teams keep the same from Australia ’23 to Australia ‘24
Very few riders are the same as started the 2023 season. Team HRC opted to keep both Iker Lecuona and Xavi Vierge for this season, taking them into their third campaign with the Japanese manufacturer. Danilo Petrucci secured himself a second year with the Barni Spark Racing Team after his podium exploits while the GYTR GRT Yamaha WorldSBK Team kept Dominique Aegerter and Remy Gardner for 2024. Although he didn’t compete in the non-European rounds last year, Bradley Ray (Yamaha Motoxracing WorldSBK Team) sticks with the same squad for his sophomore season. It’s also worth noting that, although Tito Rabat didn’t start 2023 with the Kawasaki Puccetti Racing outfit, he did end the season with them.
A NEW ERA BEGINS: follow every moment from 2024 LIVE and UNINTERRUPTED using the WorldSBK VideoPass!