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WorldSBK 2020: How is the grid shaping up?

Friday, 9 August 2019 11:46 GMT

From paddock whispers to contract signatures, the 2020 WorldSBK field is starting to take shape, with team expansions and rider signings headlining the forthcoming season…

Since the summer break, there has been an array of signings and renewals for the forthcoming 2020 season. All five manufacturers have confirmed at least one rider for next season, whilst some have brought in new additions for a better crack at the coveted WorldSBK crown. So, who is where and which teams are fielding which riders?

Starting with those that we know, Jonathan Rea (Kawasaki Racing Team WorldSBK) and Chaz Davies (Aruba.it Racing – Ducati) both signed two-year deals last summer and look are certain to stay put for the duration of their respective contracts. Joining Davies at the ARUBA.IT Racing – Ducati team, Scott Redding. The popular, charismatic British rider will make his WorldSBK debut in 2020, replacing former MotoGP™ teammate, Alvaro Bautista.

There’s been no official confirmation on who will sit on the other side of the Kawasaki garage. A handful of nagging injuries have slightly curtailed Leon Haslam’s (Kawasaki Racing Team WorldSBK) return to the series, and the 36-year-old is some 40 points off third in the championship standings. However, he put in a sterling effort to take the Japanese manufacturer to their first Suzuka 8 Hours win in over two decades.

One privateer Kawasaki rider who was widely linked with the Provec squad a few months back will finally be jumping ship, but elsewhere. Toprak Razgatlioglu will join Michael van der Mark at the Pata Yamaha team to form a rider line-up built to spend a decade at the top of the standings. The announcement, made a couple of days after the Turk’s sensational Magny-Cours wins, also leaves the Puccetti team with a vacancy for 2020.

Those two Kawasaki seats at the front of the field seem to be holding all the cards, with riders such as Alex Lowes in conversation with the manufacturer for next season, according to credible sources. But the movement all depends on whether KRT stick with their current line-up or not.

Tom Sykes’ results on the all-new BMW has seen his services retained for another season, as he looks to be fighting for a second WorldSBK crown in 2020. He will be joined by Eugene Laverty, with the Irishman resurrecting his partnership with team principal, Shaun Muir. Sykes and Laverty duelled for the title in 2013 and want to do the same as teammates in 2020.

Another team partially confirmed for next season is that of the all-new HRC World Superbike outfit, spearheaded by none other than Alvaro Bautista. The Spaniard was confirmed as their star man and we are yet to learn the length of contract, his teammate and the bike performance. One thing is for sure: it will add an incredibly interesting dynamic to the championship in 2020, with HRC’s full factory effort seeking to return the Japanese manufacturer back to the top of the WorldSBK championship tree.

This is quite the contrary for GRT Yamaha, with several reports linking WorldSSP frontrunner Federico Caricasulo to Marco Melandri’s soon-to-be-vacant seat. GRT could alternatively have at least one seat retained by current rookie, Sandro Cortese.

That opens up one seat at Team Goeleven Ducati, whilst also placing German rider Markus Reiterberger out of a ride so far for 2020, making his end of 2019 very important. In terms of other Independent riders, Jordi Torres confirmed to worldsbk.com that he will remain with the Team Pedercini Racing for 2020, after steady progression this year. Joining Torres in the new two-rider squad at Pedercini is former WorldSBK front runner, Lorenzo Savadori; the Italian returns to the team on a two-year deal. The team also confirmed their places on the grid for 2021, fielding two bikes.

Stay tuned to WorldSBK.com to find out the latest announcements regarding the WorldSBK season and watch all the remaining races in 2019 LIVE and OnDemand thanks to WorldSBK VideoPass!