WorldSBK Press Office
2019 is getting closer and closer, and the preseason tests offered a first taste of what to expect out on track with new bikes, new riders and new teams. But who will you see out on track in 2019? Riders have been confirmed throughout the season, but we have created a reminder of which riders you can cheer on next year.
Our four-time world champion will remain at home with his Kawasaki Racing Team WorldSBK, meaning Jonathan Rea will once again run the number one plate in green. But we have a change on the other side of the garage, as Leon Haslam joins the squad next season. Signing a one year deal, the British champion returns to WorldSBK for the first time in 2015. Although, we have seen Haslam every year since then with wild card appearances. Rea and Haslam have 76 wins between them, and with the experience of Haslam’s team behind him, they will be a strong force in 2019.
It’s a similar story over in the Aruba.it Racing – Ducati garage, with Chaz Davies remaining in the team for his sixth season and will take on the sensational new Ducati Panigale V4 R. But he will also have a new face on the other side of the garage, as Spanish MotoGP™ rider Alvaro Bautista joins the factory supported team for 2019. Davies has finished runner-up on three occasions in WorldSBK but will have his eyes on the world title next season. For Bautista, his pace in testing was impressive, and he will be continuing to build on this as he makes the switch.
There will be no changes in the blue corner of the Pata Yamaha Official WorldSBK Team, as Michael van der Mark and Alex Lowes line up with their YZF-R1’s for the third season in a row. Both riders took their first WorldSBK wins in 2018; van der Mark took the double victory around Donington Park, and Lowes followed with the race two win around Automotodrom Brno. As they continue to learn and understand the YZF-R1, the pair offer valuable feedback and understanding of the bike.
Welcoming the return of BMW as a factory support, the BMW Motarrad WorldSBK Team will be lining up on the grid with reigning STK1000 champion Markus Reiterberger and 2013 WorldSBK champion Tom Sykes. With the racing operations run by Shaun Muir Racing, the squad will getting full factory support to match their full factory riders. German Reiterberger has experience in the WorldSBK class, and dominated STK1000 on a BMW last season. Whilst Sykes boasts some of the best experience in the WorldSBK paddock, as work is continuing to build the new team.
Fielding the third Ducati Paniagle V4 R in 2019, BARNI Racing Team have signed Michael Ruben Rinaldi for the upcoming season, with the Italian already having one year of experience in the WorldSBK class under his belt. Joining the best independent team of 2018, who secured six podiums last season, his experience and relationship with Ducati will no doubt help to continue this into 2019.
Making the step up from the European Superstock 1000 Championship, Alessandro Delbianco will line up on the grid with the new ALTHEA MIE Racing Team as they will make the switch to a Honda machine next season. With the CBR1000RR SP2 Fireblade, the Italian youngster will be prepared for a big challenge in 2019. Taking one second position last season, he finished in seventh overall and will be the third rider as Althea collaborate with HRC next season.
Still without an official team name, Althea will be collaborating with Moriwaki and HRC for 2019, in a deal which was announced at EICMA in November. British rider Leon Camier will stick with Honda in 2019 after a tough season, and will be joined by Japanese legend Ryuichi Kiyonari. Camier had a strong start to his year with Honda but ended in 12th overall after being plagued by injury and bike problems. Whilst Kiyonari has 53 race starts to his name, with three wins overall and experience in many national superbike championships. Seeing HRC back in WorldSBK for the first time since 2002, it will be a big season.
Yamaha will be offering a second factory supported team in 2019, with Sandro Cortese and Marco Melandri lining up for the GRT Yamaha WSBK Team. Securing the reigning FIM Supersport World Champion in Sandro Cortese – who has experience in Moto3, Moto2™ and now WorldSSP – he has taken to the new paddock very quickly and is keen to adapt his riding style for the new season ahead. Bringing in Marco Melandri to join him, the veteran heads back to Yamaha for the first time since 2011 and was a WorldSBK race winner in 2018, so the duo will soon find the right direction for the team.
Sticking with the same team for 2019 will be Toprak Razgatlioglu, who heads into his second season with Kawasaki Puccetti Racing. The young Turkish star was able to secure two podiums in 2018, as he continues to get to grips with the ZX-10RR. Securing the STK1000 title in 2017, Razgatlioglu has a natural speed which he is continuing to define with the SBK machines.
Last but not least, Jordi Torres has recently announced he will be making his return to the WorldSBK paddock after a brief stint in MotoGP as a replacement rider. The Spanish rider is joining Team Pedercini Racing for 2019, and will make his debut on the Kawasaki machine, debuting on the ZX-10RR.