Axel Bassani has been officially confirmed as Kawasaki’s replacement for six-time WorldSBK Champion Jonathan Rea, the Italian joining Alex Lowes in the factory team for the 2024 WorldSBK season.
The Italian, who made his WorldSBK debut in 2021, will switch from the Motocorsa Racing team after three successful seasons that have yielded six podiums with the minnow privateer squad.
He assumes the seat being vacated by Rea, who shocked the WorldSBK paddock earlier this month by confirming he will move over to Pata Yamaha next season despite having a year remaining on his long-term Kawasaki contract.
For Bassani, who was also linked with the Aruba Racing Ducati seat before it was given to Nicolo Bulega, the opportunity to succeed the most successful WorldSBK rider in history is a huge honour.
“I'm really happy for the important opportunity that Kawasaki is offering me. I will give the best of myself on and off the track to achieve the best possible results, hoping to give all the Kawasaki fans great emotions and satisfaction!
“I want to thank my family for the sacrifices made and Lorenzo Mauri for the path we have taken together which has allowed me to stand out in recent years. See you soon on the track.”
Though Bassani has blossomed from a relative unknown upon making his WorldSBK debut with Motocorsa in 2021 to an exciting and young talent for the future, the challenge of stepping into Rea’s boots cannot be overestimated.
Indeed, Rea enjoyed immense success with Kawasaki upon joining its factory KRT outfit in 2015, the Ulsterman proceeding to reel off a record six consecutive titles. In that time he’d go on to win 104 WorldSBK races with the manufacturer alone, giving him a record career tally of 119 victories.
Bassani’s appointment means Honda is the only manufacturer yet to officially confirm its factory line-up for 2024, while the other four - Ducati, Yamaha, Kawasaki and BMW - all feature one new rider in its lead line-up.