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Please turn over | 6 new things that could make 2024 WorldSBK season a vintage one

Gold & Goose

Change may not come all too often in the WorldSBK Championship but when it does, it has a tendency to be one of seismic proportions. And when one big domino topples over, inevitably others follow…

This is the premise that awaits us for the 2024 WorldSBK Championship when several big rider moves, big debuts and one very big back-to-back world champion to defeat hit the track at the end of February for Round 1 in Australia.

Here’s what BSN is looking forward to in WorldSBK this season…


Jonathan Rea, Jerez WorldSBK Test, 31 October 2023
That awkward moment when everyone knows your name but you can't remember if this man called Jim, John and Janice...

1. Jonathan Rea prepares to blue himself

Who’d have thought it, Marc Marquez not riding a Honda and Jonathan Rea not riding a Kawasaki… and in the same year as well!

As parallel as this universe might seem though, 2024 will be the year some of racing’s most esteemed loyalists step out in new colours hoping to find out if the grass really is greener - or in Rea’s case, bluer - on the other side. Do not adjust your TV sets.

After so many years on the Kawasaki, Rea’s move to Yamaha will be viewed with noted interest. Since the Yamaha R1 shares a similar ethos to the ZX-10RR, Rea should feel right at home and - based on the last couple of years at least - be more competitive. 

A seventh WorldSBK title? He’s got his work cut out, but he’s probably closer to it with Yamaha than he was at Kawasaki…

"Who do you love more, Yamaha or BMW?" Relief all round as Toprak Razgatlioglu nails his first brand values lesson

2. The Greatest Showman must go on

There is a lot to like about Toprak Razgatlioglu and his surprising career swerve to BMW is another one to add to the list.


Sure, he’s not the first to go a bit leftfield when seeking a change of scenery, but it is Razgatlioglu’s enthusiasm and commitment towards a target of turning BMW from solid midfielders into World Champions that earns admiration.

Whether it’s a foolhardy or simply a foolish task remains to be seen - just look at Bautista when he strayed to Honda for two years - but if anyone on the grid can transform a manufacturer’s fortunes - both in terms of results and resource - it’s our Toprak.

Andrea Iannone
He's a maaaaniac, maaaaaaaniac is our Crazy Joe. Welcome back Andrea Iannone, or whatever you're calling yourself in 2024


3. Crazy, a maniac or just rusty…?

Four years is a long old time in motorsport, so fair play to Andrea Iannone for sticking to his training regime in that time to ensure he is ready to pick up where he left off back in 2019 just before he was suspended for doping offences.

Even so, four years out of racing is even longer and Iannone isn’t exactly testing the waters for his big comeback on the privateer but well-sorted Go Eleven Ducati.

Right now it is almost impossible to judge when or if he will be back up to the speed that had him riding high in MotoGP all those years ago. 

Suffice to say though, if he does prove competitive, it’ll almost certainly be the accomplishment of the season.

You look familiar, have we met before...?

4. The Brit pack

Having dominated the entry list a decade ago, British participation in WorldSBK is back on the up with the ‘fab four’ of 2023 becoming a ‘super six’ for 2024.

Mainstays Rea, Alex Lowes and Scott Redding are present and correct, while Bradley Ray will get a proper full season on the Motoxracing Yamaha this time too.

Joining the party is Sam Lowes, who stands out as one of the most intriguing prospects to keep an eye on during the early rounds. Indeed, while WorldSBK is a world away from Moto2, Lowes knows the paddock fairly well from his time in WorldSSP a decade ago and while Marc VDS Racing are newcomers to the series, its pedigree in the grand prix ranks needs no introduction.

Throw in that friendly, but still competitive sibling rivalry with twin brother Alex and we’re fascinated to watch Sam Lowes’ tale unfold in 2024.

Finally, we will also see the belated WorldSBK debut of Tarran Mackenzie, who thankfully gets the promotion he deserves after whiling away on that horrid Honda WorldSSP machine last year.

Granted, MIE Racing’s record in WorldSBK isn’t exactly stellar, but Mackenzie represents arguably it’s most exciting hire yet. With this in mind, Mackenzie is very aware this is his chance to show what he’s got so this could be the make or break moment of his career…

Alvaro Bautista, Aruba Racing, Ducati Panigale V4 R, 2023 WorldSBK, Portimao, action [Gold & Goose]
Floats like a butterfly, stings when people comment about his weight

5. No more body shaming

Having taken a lot of flak for his genetics over the past two seasons, renowned compact human being Alvaro Bautista heads into 2024 hoping fewer column inches will be filled with comments about his weight.

Indeed, WorldSBK will - for the first time - introduce new minimum weight measures in an attempt to close the literal gap between the more featherweight competitors, like Bautista, and the lankier troupe of Scott Redding, Michael van der Mark and Toprak Razgatlioglu.

To do this, regulators have devised an algorithm that it hopes will appease riders on both sides by striking a compromise that probably doesn’t actually exist. After all, it won’t level things up entirely and, judging by initial comments from riders, they don’t feel it will make that much of a difference anyway.

Balaton Park Circuit [Sky Sports]
Hungary's new Balaton Park Circuit looks... wait for it... tasty [sorry]

6. Pastures very new 

While we are very fond of new era WorldSBK venues like Portimao and Aragon, their modern configurations of long straights and smooth asphalt have sadly served to distort races by favouring motorcycles that err more towards power than agility.

So it’s exciting to see WorldSBK try something entirely different with its calendar shake-up for 2024 by adding a little-known circuit in Italy and a brand-new facility in Hungary.

We’re curious to see how the latter, set to be held at the new Balaton Park Circuit, works out having been on the drawing board for many years now, while Cremona - which isn’t even used by Italy’s domestic championship - is a curiously short, very technical prospect that looks like no other track on the schedule.

The omens are good though when you look at a venue like Most Autodrom. While the Czech circuit - another somewhat surprising choice of venue when it debuted in 2021 - hasn’t won over everyone with its bumpy surface and quirky corners, it has at least produced some of the best racing over the past three seasons.

We’re telling you, going back to basics is the way forward…

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