From paddock whispers to contract signatures, the 2020 WorldSBK field is taking shape, with team expansions and rider signings headlining the forthcoming season…
With the 2019 season at an end, most of the signings ahead of 2020 are now complete, with only a few question marks remaining. All five factory teams have confirmed their riders for next season, with some bringing 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.
On the other side of the Kawasaki garage, Alex Lowes will be sitting next to the 2019 reigning World Champion. With nine podiums added on his tally this year, the British rider finished third in the Championship, and with no doubt Lowes and the Provec squad will be a force to be reckoned with for 2020.
Toprak Razgatlioglu will replace Lowes joining 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 vacant seat left by Razgatlioglu at the Puccetti Racing Team will be filled by another strong contender who will make a sensational return to the series next year. 2018 Best Independent rider Xavi Fóres will join the Italian squad, ready for a strong comeback on the Kawasaki machine after a year away from WorldSBK.
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 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 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.
The final factory ride on the grid went to former Championship runner-up Leon Haslam, switching from Kawasaki to the all-new and seemingly all-sparkling HRC WorldSBK Factory Team. The 36-year-old has been hindered by a few injuries this season but will be keen to prove his worth alongside reigning WorldSBK runner-up Alvaro Bautista.
GRT Yamaha has recently confirmed a brand-new line up for 2020. 2019 WorldSSP runner-up Federico Caricasulo will step up to WorldSBK with the team, while American star Garrett Gerloff is set to make his debut in the series with the Yamaha squad. Another Yamaha team, Ten Kate Racing – Yamaha, confirmed their 2020 plans with Loris Baz, although a “big surprise” still may be yet to come…
BARNI Racing Team will also have a new rider for 2020, with Leon Camier joining the Italian outfit next year. With the British rider confirmed on the Ducati Panigale V4R of Barnabò’s team, Michael Ruben Rinaldi is staying in the Ducati family but taking Eugene Laverty’s vacant seat at Team Goeleven, announced at EICMA in November.
Leandro ‘Tati’ Mercado will be rejoining the grid in 2020… But only from the Spanish Round onwards, as he prepares to race onboard a Ducati V4 R in all the European races, plus his home round in Argentina, with the new Team Motocorsa Racing.
That leaves an open slot in Orelac Racing VerdNatura, who nonetheless have confirmed that they will return to WorldSBK in 2020 after some initial uncertainty. The rider remains unknown, although the team are understood to be managing several options.
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.
Finally, Takumi Takahashi has been announced as another full-time rookie in the 2020 Championship, as part of the two-rider MIE Racing. Who will race the other Honda is yet to be confirmed.
Stay tuned to WorldSBK.com to find out the latest announcements regarding the WorldSBK season and relive the 2019 MOTUL FIM Superbike World Championship with the WorldSBK VideoPass!