WorldSSP rookies ready to fight to established stars in 2020

Monday, 10 February 2020 13:20 GMT

There’s a whole host of rookies in World Supersport this season and with the season nearing, find out who the fresh faces are in the class

Along with changes aplenty in the MOTUL FIM Superbike World Championship, there’s plenty of fresh faces in the FIM Supersport World Championship. Of the entire line-up, there’s 11 riders who are rookies heading into 2020, with only a handful having taken part in just one race in the class. Some are notable names; others are a blast from the past and some are looking to mark their territory in World Supersport. Covering eight different countries and three continents, who are the new riders in WorldSSP?

Starting with those who come from Moto2™, Andrea Locatelli (BARDAHL Evan Bros. WorldSSP Team) makes the switch to the class having been a top six finisher in Moto2™ and a Moto3™ podium finisher. He will be the Italian flying the flag this year as he aims to give his country a first WorldSSP Championship. With the Yamaha YZF R6, who’d bet against Locatelli and success in 2020? Philipp Oettl (Kawasaki Puccetti Racing) is another rider who joins, but the former Moto3™ Grand Prix winner heads for the ZX-6R and is teammates to 2017 Champion, Lucas Mahias. South African Steven Odendaal (EAB Ten Kate Racing) partners up with the Dutch team as they return to WorldSSP, having been the most successful team in the history of the class.

Coming up from WorldSSP300, reigning Champion Manuel Gonzalez (Kawasaki ParkinGO Team). The Spanish rider achieved the title at Magny-Cours last year and in the process, became the youngest ever solo FIM Motorcycle Road Racing World Champion. He graduates this season and brings his team with him, as he looks to become the first rider to win both a WorldSSP300 race and a WorldSSP race.  Indonesia’s Galang Hendra Pratama (bLU cRU WorldSSP by MS) and his teammate Andy Verdoïa will be eager to make the move a success in 2020 as well. Both riders were in the title fight in 2019 and are aiming to make a good impression in WorldSSP this season.

Moving in from Moto3™, the youngest ever Grand Prix winner Can Öncü (Turkish Racing Team) makes a switch to World Supersport. The Turkish star is spreading his country’s representation in the paddock and could be a surprise throughout the 2020 season, especially on tracks he knows. Joining Öncü is another former lightweight class star, Danny Webb (WRP Wepol Racing). Under James Toseland’s guidance, he looks set to make his return to the world stage and makes his WorldSSP debut this year.

Other rookies eager for strong results include Patrick Hobelsberger (Dynavolt Honda), who is ready for his first season in WorldSSP with the experience PTR set-up, teammates to Hikari Okubo. Alejandro Ruiz Carranza (EMPERADOR Racing Team), having been tenth in the Spanish Supersport championship. Reigning Australian Supersport champion Tom Toparis (Benro Racing) readies for his first campaign, having been able to finish in the points in past WorldSSP wildcards at Phillip Island. Carranza and Toparis will be in the Europe Supersport Cup (ESS).

Find out if the rookies can take it to the established stars with the WorldSBK VideoPass!