What to expect from the strongest rookie line-up in WorldSBK history | World Superbikes

Whilst it is just an opinion, evaluating a previous WorldSBK rookie line-up ahead of the current rookie roster seems like a monumental task.

Six rookies will compete in next month’s season opener at Phillip Island, five of whom have claimed either world titles or victories in some of the most competitive championships in the world.

Danilo Petrucci


Starting with the biggest name on this list, Petrucci has joined WorldSBK with Ducati after finishing second to Jake Gagne in his debut MotoAmerica season.

A two-time MotoGP race winner and Dakar Rally stage winner, Petrucci brings more racing experience than most in the field.

Xavi Fores has shown the Barni Spark Ducati machine can produce good results in 2022 so Petrucci should be able to push this team further up the grid.

An all-new Panigale V4 R will be available to the Italian after Ducati unveiled their latest model to replace the 2019 bike.

Fighting for the top ten must be Petrucci’s immediate goal before converting that into the top five and potential podiums.

Expect Petrucci to become a leading contender for the Best Independent Driver of the Year honor while pushing the likes of them forward Michael Ruben Rinaldi and Axel Bassaniwhich will be on similar machines

Remy Gardner

Another interesting and well-known newcomer to WorldSBK, Gardner comes to MotoGP after a disappointing rookie season.

But despite being dropped by Tech 3 KTM having clinched them the Moto2 title just a few months earlier, Gardner has joined one of the better teams on the grid in GRT Yamaha.

As we saw Garret Gerloff In recent seasons, the Yamaha satellite team has everything it takes to fight for race wins and while that might be stretching too far for Gardner as a rookie, the Australian should be much more competitive in WorldSBK than he is in MotoGP

Much like Petrucci, Gardner is a rider who is expected to fight for big results and the Independent Riders title.

Dominique Agerter

The consecutive WorldSSP Champion will compete alongside Gardner in an all-rookie team at GRT Yamaha.

After winning consecutive Supersport titles for the first time since Kenan Sofuoglu, Aegerter moves to the premier class with high expectations.

While Gardner is a big name, Aegerter’s recent form since 2021 is likely to pose a serious challenge for Gardner and all satellite team drivers.

Bradley Ray

After difficult BSB campaigns with Suzuki and BMW recently, Ray and the Rich Energy OMG Racing Yamaha were a match made in heaven last year.

Ray was dominant all year and ended up winning his first BSB title by one race

The British rider will ride in WorldSBK for Motoxracing Yamaha, a team that has had some positive results with Roberto Tamburini.

And while the Italian has done solid work for the team, Ray’s talent should see him push the team forward, much like Petrucci did at Barni Ducati.

Points are still expected for Ray as he learns the differences between a WorldSBK and British Superbike before consistent top tens would likely culminate in a successful season

Lorenzo Baldassari

The ex-Moto2 rider was a surprise championship contender for Aegerter last year and although the Swiss rider enjoyed much greater success in terms of race wins, Baldassarri was an ever-present challenge for Aegerter.

Joining Gardner, Aegerter and Ray, Baldassarri is making his way into WorldSBK with Yamaha and could be a dark horse to anger both GRT riders and Ray when it comes to best Yamaha rookie.

After being linked with a MotoGP seat a few seasons ago, Baldassarri was back at his best after a difficult few years in Moto2 on Supersport machines. If the Italian can once again show a strong level of performance and compete with the top ten riders, he could become a factory contender.


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