CREW CHIEF MARKET: who will work with whom in 2024?

Wednesday, 7 February 2024 09:10 GMT

Rider changes up and down the grid mean there’s been a bit of a shake-up in who’s working where in terms of crew chiefs

Riders switching teams in the MOTUL FIM Superbike World Championship often has a knock-on effect as to who they’ll have as their crew chief. For 2024, long term partnerships are continuing while others have been broken up after bombshell transfers which has led to changes in the crew chief market for this season. Rider transfers have had an impact but, at some teams, they have opted to make a change even with riders staying the same.

THE BIG MOVE: Marron follows Razgatlioglu to BMW

Phil Marron and Toprak Razgatlioglu (ROKiT BMW Motorrad WorldSBK Team) have been inseparable since they started working together in 2019 at Kawasaki Puccetti Racing. Marron went with him to the Pata Prometeon Yamaha squad in 2020 and helped the #54 to his title success, before the 2021 Champion opted to move to BMW for 2024. Given their working relationship and the success they’ve had together, it’s not a surprise Marron and Razgatlioglu are together at BMW.

CHANGES FROM MARRON’S MOVE: the knock-on effect at Yamaha

Marron’s move opened up a crew chief vacancy at Pata Prometeon Yamaha, with the team quick to fill that. Andrew Pitt – formerly Andrea Locatelli’s right-hand man – moved to the other side of the box following Jonathan Rea’s shock arrival, with Pitt and Rea having been teammates back in WorldSSP. To fill the empty space on Locatelli’s side of the box, Yamaha brought in Tom O’Kane from the MotoGP™ team as the entire team looks to make a step in every area.

SWITCHEROO AT KRT: Lowes gets new crew chief as Bassani arrives

With Rea departing the Kawasaki Racing Team WorldSBK, they also opted to make a change within the box. Having worked with the Ulsterman as he broke almost every record possible, Pere Riba will now be crew chief to Alex Lowes in 2024. That means new recruit Axel Bassani will work with Lowes’ former crew chief, Marcel Duinker, for his first season inside the Kawasaki factory team after getting his dream move.

HONDA AND DUCATI CHANGES: one side of the box has a new crew chief

Following his promotion to the Racing – Ducati team, Nicolo Bulega brought his crew chief from WorldSSP, and he will continue to work with Tommaso Raponi this season. ‘Bulegas’ has been fast in testing so far and with their previous success, hopes will be high that continues in his rookie season. Down the pit lane at Honda, Tom Jojic has come into the team as Iker Lecuona’s (Team HRC) crew chief as everyone at the Japanese manufacturer looks to make a step forward compared to last year.

MORE CHANGES ON THE GRID: three big moves…

With the arrival of Andrea Iannone at Team GoEleven, they opted to bring in a new crew chief for ‘The Maniac’. Filippo Burgatti is the person they’ve chosen as Iannone’s right-hand man for his rookie season. Sam Lowes (Elf Marc VDS Racing Team) will have Giovanni Crupi in his box for his maiden WorldSBK campaign. At the Petronas MIE Racing Honda Team, Tarran Mackenzie has a new crew chief for 2024 as he works alongside Antonio Puchades.

Elsewhere, with riders moving teams, there’s been some changes. Scott Redding (Bonovo Action BMW) will work with Bela Kujundzic, who was with the team as Loris Baz’s crew chief last season. Philipp Oettl’s move to GMT94 Yamaha means he’ll work with Manuel Cappelletti in 2024. Adam Norrodin’s crew chief for 2024 at the Petronas MIE Racing Honda outfit will be Flavio Prodolliet, who was at the team last year as Eric Granado’s crew chief. Michael Ruben Rinaldi’s move to Motocorsa Racing means he works with Simone Corsini, who he worked with previously at Team GoEleven, with Corsini staying at the team after being Bassani’s crew chief previously.

REMAINING THE SAME: nine rider-crew chief partnerships stay together

Double Champion Alvaro Bautista ( Racing – Ducati) will continue working with Giulio Nava in 2024. Michael van der Mark (ROKiT BMW Motorrad WorldSBK Team) stays partnered with Marcus Eschenbacher, and Xavi Vierge (Team HRC) will work with Gorka Segura again. At the GYTR GRT Yamaha WorldSBK Team, both crew chiefs remain in place. Andrea Oleari and Damiano Evangelisiti will continue with Dominique Aegerter and Remy Gardner respectively. Leslie Pearson continues his strong relationship with Garrett Gerloff (Bonovo Action BMW), and Danilo Petrucci’s (Barni Spark Racing Team) second season in WorldSBK sees him continuing with Luca Minelli. Pietro Caprara stays with Kawasaki Puccetti Racing’s Tito Rabat, while Bradley Ray (Yamaha Motoxracing WorldSBK Team) stays with Pietro Cassara.

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