At the age of 18 years, 4 months and 27 days, the Italian will enter the history books in Argentina
Just when it seemed that the season of record-breakers may have finally reached its peak, the grid for the Motul Argentinian Round has thrown up another stat for the history books. At the brand-new Circuit San Juan Villicum, Gabriele Ruiu (Team Pedercini Racing) will become the youngest rider to start a MOTUL FIM Superbike World Championship race in the 31 seasons of the production-derived series.
The Italian turned 18 years old back in May, and on Saturday, at 18 years, 4 months and 27 days, he will slot straight into first place in the overall ranking, beating other then-teenage starlets such as Loris Baz (2012) or Noriyuki Haga (1994).
Amazingly, he will take the top spot by just a handful of days. In 1989, Sebastiano Zerbo joined the grid at his home track of Enna-Pergusa to compete on a Yamaha in both races, at the age of 18 years and 5 months. These would end up being the Italian’s only two WorldSBK races, although he did join the World Supersport grid briefly in 2006 – then aged 35 – for three races with the RG Team.
With this in mind, Ruiu could become the youngest point-scorer in WorldSBK history at either Argentina or the Qatar Round two weeks later. Even if he doesn’t however, the future is bright for the Italian rookie.
Youngest rider: Sebastiano Zerbo, 18 years 5 months – Enna-Pergusa, 1989, Race One
Youngest winner, podium and points scored: Yuichi Takeda, 18 years 8 months 27 days – Sugo, 1996, Race One
Youngest champion: James Toseland, 23 years 11 months 28 days – 2004, Magny-Cours, Race Two
Youngest pole: Anthony Gobert, 19 years 7 months 25 days – Phillip Island, 1994, Race One
Youngest fastest lap: Loris Baz, 19 years 6 months 4 days – Silverstone, 2012, Race Two
Find out how the riders fare in their first South American race thanks to WorldSBK VideoPass.