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SBK 2024 rider market: in Jerez for the last fireworks

Alvaro Bautista is preparing to celebrate his second title with Ducati, Toprak is preparing for his final challenge aboard the Yamaha while Rea bids farewell to Kawasaki. We will see Iannone in the tests, but the 2024 grid has not yet been defined

SBK: SBK 2024 rider market: in Jerez for the last fireworks

The final round of the SBK world championship at the Jerez circuit is almost here. Alvaro Bautista has his hands on the title, with a 60 point advantage over Toprak Razgatlioglu who will surely have not much hope of snatching the number 1 plate from the Spaniard so there are very few doubts regarding the name of the winner of the title. However, there are still a lot surrounding the future of many riders in SBK.

Let's analyze the situation team by team, trying to identify the gaps that are still missing and what new changes could take place on the eve of the final round of the 2023 season.

Ducati promotes Bulega, Bautista will help him to mature

 

The easiest thing to do is talk first about the teams that have already presented a complete lineup. Let's start with Ducati which will have the confirmed Alvaro Bautista and SBK rookie Nicolò Bulega, newly-crowned champion in SuperSport riding the Panigale V2, racing in the official Aruba Team. A balanced couple, on one side an established champion, on the other a young but expert rider who will be able to mature calmly and continue to build a magnificent career in the production-based championship.

 

The factory Kawasaki and Yamaha teams also have their riders in place, with the former having decided to focus on Axel Bassani to replace Jonathan Rea, who in turn is destined to take over the Yamaha vacated by Toprak. Lowes and Locatelli will again be riding the same bikes, but the mix represented by this change of riders in these two teams will be one of the strong ingredients of 2024. Bassani will have to deal with the challenges that come with the responsibility of being on an official bike, Rea will have to demonstrate that he can also be a winner on the R1 and not make people regret the Turkish phenomenon.

BMW announced its plans well in advance, hiring Razgatlioglu and confirming Van Der Mark. Redding's move to Team Bonovo sounds like a bit of a stepdown, but Gerloff has shown that even in the 'second' BMW team it is possible to do very well. Here too there are the ingredients for a season full of sparks on and off the track.

 

Yamaha GRT will continue with Gardner and Aegerter, while the team that has not yet made its riders official for 2024 is Honda HRC, which probably has more than one problem to solve. Honda's priority in this period is to find a replacement for Marc Marquez in MotoGP and before the name of Miguel Oliveira came to the fore, many observers were certain that the number 1 candidate was Iker Lecuona. HRC is probably waiting to sign the Portuguese rider for the move to the RC211 V, leaving Iker in a sort of temporary purgatory. At the moment there are no reasons to doubt Vierge's confirmation, which however is slow in arriving without any similar reasons.

Rinaldi continues with a Ducati: Motocorsa awaits him

 

Michael Rinaldi hoped to be in the running for the official CBR, but his fate seems to still be linked to Ducati but with the Motocorsa team, which with Rinaldi would find a very high-level profile to replace Bassani. Let's also remember that in 2024 there will be two other Italians with a decidedly heavy pedigree on the track and we're talking about Petrucci who will continue with Barni and Andrea Iannone, perhaps the most awaited rider of all. The long disqualification that kept him away from the race tracks is coming to an end and Andrea has a massive desire for revenge. Go Eleven believed in this challenge, which undoubtedly represents a huge advertising boost for the entire championship in the hope that Andrea will immediately return to take on the role of The Maniac even among the derivatives.

 

Another Ducati Panigale V4 will be in the hands of Sam Lowes, who will arrive from Moto2 bringing with him an entire team, namely that of Marc VDS ready for a new challenge among the production-derived series. Lowes has a lot of experience, he certainly has no shortage of talent and the team will be able to count on a very high level budget. It will take time to understand how well this new couple can work, but the project will undoubtedly be based on solid foundations.

Those who still have many knots to untie are the MIE teams of Midori Moriwaki, Manuel Puccetti who will continue with Kawasaki after thinking of moving to Ducati. Then there are the Yamaha GMT94 and Motoxracing teams and the Orelac Kawasaki team. None of these teams have currently signed any riders for 2024 and there is ample possibility that some of these will go poaching in other paddocks, in particular in Moto2 or perhaps in BSB. We will be in Jerez to follow the race weekend, the highly anticipated tests and perhaps discover all the news that the SBK grid still has in store for us for 2024.

 

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