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2024 WorldSBK | Who is signed, what is up for grabs and who could go where?

Jonathan Rea, KRT, Kawasaki Racing Team, Kawasaki ZX-10RR, Catalunya, 2023 WorldSBK, action, start, group [credit/ 2Snap/Geebee]

We may only be four rounds in the 2023 WorldSBK Championship but as summer approaches, teams are already looking ahead to next season as the fabled ‘silly season’ gathers momentum.

The rumour mill has certainly kicked up a gear this week with the sensational confirmation that 2021 WorldSBK Champion Toprak Razgatlioglu will depart Yamaha in favour of a move to BMW next season.

His switch throws a curve ball into the rider market with burning questions over who could replace him at Yamaha, then there are the second seats up for grabs at Ducati and Kawasaki too. So who is confirmed, who is floating and who does BSN reckon is in the frame?


Who is confirmed for the 2024 WorldSBK season?

The news is out; Toprak Razgatlioglu will leave Yamaha in favour of BMW next season, In what is destined to be one of the most intriguing and scrutinised moves in WorldSBK history.

It remains to be seen how he will fare in bringing the flagging German manufacturer up to speed but having transformed Yamaha into winners again, the Turk has shown he has the credentials.

His move is the most significant to be announced so far, but we have also had confirmation that 2022 WorldSBK Champion Alvaro Bautista will be staying put at Aruba.it Ducati, quashing rumours that he could retire at the end of this season.

Others with 2024 WorldSBK contracts in their back pocket include Jonathan Rea, who is in the midst of a long-term deal with the Kawasaki Racing Team, and Andrea Locatelli, who has been confirmed with Yamaha for another two years in the wake of Razgatlioglu’s departure. Garrett Gerloff is also contracted for another season with Bonovo BMW.

It means at least one seat in four of the five manufacturer teams is settled, but there remains question marks over who joins the aforementioned riders…

Which seats are up for grabs ahead of 2024 WorldSBK season?

With at least one seat still to confirm in each of the manufacturer teams, the upcoming rounds will be crucial for those riders either trying to hold onto their factory perch and others looking to impress.

One of the most keenly contested rides is the prized Aruba.it Ducati Panigale V4 R alongside Bautista currently held by Michael Ruben Rinaldi.

While the Italian has shown impressive bursts of performance during this two-year plus tenure with the team, including three wins, he has struggled for consistency. As such, his seat is clearly under threat, not least because Ducati has a bevy of potential options available to it.

The highest-profile option within its own stable is Danilo Petrucci, though he hasn’t sparkled in his first four events with Barni Ducati. That said, he is very well liked within the Ducati fold, as demonstrated by his recent French MotoGP outing with the factory team.


However, Petrucci’s age alongside another veteran of racing in Bautista arguably counts against him, which potentially strengthens the case for Nicolo Bulega. After a solid first season in WorldSSP, Bulega has been the dominant force so far this year and if he does go on to win the title, his chances of promotion are boosted by the WorldSBK success of WorldSSP’s two most recent champions, Locatelli and Dominique Aegerter. Also, Bulega will be testing the Ducati Panigale V4 R for a second time next week in a two day test around Mugello.

The fan favourite, however, is Axel Bassani, the plucky privateer having caught the paddock by surprise by emerging as a regular front runner with the minnow Motocorsa Racing team over the last two seasons. 

Indeed, it is a credit to the youngster that he could be considered alongside Petrucci and Bulega, but it remains to be seen whether Ducati would prefer to promote its own nurtured talent rather than reward Bassani. If Ducati doesn't want him, however, another factory outfit might...

Over at Yamaha, with its star rider exiting stage left, it leaves a big hole in the Crescent Racing-run squad for 2024.


It too has a large internal pool of riders to consider, the most impressive of which has so far been Dominique Aegerter. It could also provide a welcome home to Franco Morbidelli if the Italian finds himself exiled in favour of the rumoured Jorge Martin at the factory Yamaha squad in MotoGP.

Depending on whether BMW chooses to retain him or not, Scott Redding might be a candidate to do a straight swap with Razgatlioglu. Though the Briton's head has dropped following a lacklustre start to the 2023 WorldSBK season, he is a WorldSBK runner-up and was the only rider to challenge the dominant Razgatlioglu-Rea duel in 2021 on the Ducati.

Speaking of BMW, with Razgatlioglu occupying one of its seats for 2024, attention turns to who will be paired with him.

Of its current riders, Redding has been quicker than Michael van der Mark, though the Dutchman has been beset by persistent injury woes for some time now, making it tricky to gauge his speed.

He has publicly stated he wants to stay, while he hasn't landed himself in hot water among BMW management with unflattering comments about the M 1000 RR package to the press, unlike Redding. However, with Redding believed to be under contract, short of an agreement to part ways, there is the potential of the manufacturer expanding to run three ROKiT bikes.

Honda, meanwhile, are likely to retain Iker Lecuona and Xavi Verge having previously stated its desire to retain continuity in its attempts to bring the Honda CBR1000RR-R Fireblade package up to scratch.

Indeed, Lecuona found excellent favour with the brand when he helped Honda to success in the Suzuka 8 Hours, while Vierge has made a notable step forward in 2023 too.

Finally, Kawasaki will head into its tenth season with Jonathan Rea on the ZX-10RR, but Alex Lowes' seat looks shakier. The Briton is in his fourth season with the KRT squad, but hasn't added to the win he achieved on his debut with the team in 2020 at Phillip Island.

Even so, he is well liked within the team and has been on more of a par with Rea than at any point in their time as team-mates.

If Kawasaki does dip into the rider market then the likes of Redding, Bassani and Aegerter appear the most tempting propositions

2024 WorldSBK Rider Line-up | Provisional [as of May 2023]

2024 WorldSBK Rider Line-up so far [provisional as of May 2023]
-Alvaro BautistaESPAruba it RacingDucati Panigale V4 R
-TBA-Aruba it RacingDucati Panigale V4 R
-Andrea LocatelliITAPata Crescent YamahaYamaha R1
-TBA-Pata Crescent YamahaYamaha R1
-Jonathan ReaGBRKawasaki Racing TeamKawasaki ZX-10RR
-TBA-Kawasaki Racing TeamKawasaki ZX-10RR
-TBA-HRC HondaHonda CBR1000RR-R
-TBA-HRC HondaHonda CBR1000RR-R
-Toprak RazgatliogluTURROKiT BMWBMW M 1000 RR
-TBA-Barni Spark RacingDucati Panigale V4 R
-TBA-GYTR GTR YamahaYamaha R1
-TBA-GYTR GTR YamahaYamaha R1
-TBA-Go ElevenDucati Panigale V4 R
-TBA-Motocorsa RacingDucati Panigale V4 R
-Garrett GerloffUSABonovo Action BMWBMW M 1000 RR
-TBA-Bonovo Action BMWBMW M 1000 RR
-TBA-GMT94 Yamaha R1
-TBA-Petronas MIE RacingHonda CBR1000RR-R
-TBA-Petronas MIE RacingHonda CBR1000RR-R
-TBA-Puccetti RacingKawasaki ZX-10RR

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