Welcome to the beta version of the new Women & Golf website. Our web monkeys are still hard at work and welcome your feedback.  


Bassani poised to replace Rea at Kawasaki as Marquez holds up WorldSBK deals

Axel Bassani is all set to be named as the rider who will step into the vast race boots being vacated by Jonathan Rea at the Kawasaki Racing Team for the 2024 WorldSBK Championship, it is understood.

The shock decision by Rea to curtail his nine-year, six world title-winning tenure with ‘Team Green’ in favour of a move to Yamaha has thrown another seismic ripple across a WorldSBK rider market that had only just recovered from news of Toprak Razgatlioglu’s impending move to BMW.

As it stands, only two of the five factory manufacturer teams have both riders signed and sealed with Rea joining Andrea Locatelli at Yamaha, while Aruba Ducati has since confirmed Nicolo Bulega will be promoted from WorldSSP alongside champion-elect Alvaro Bautista.


Elsewhere, both Kawasaki and BMW have one seat filled with Alex Lowes remaining at the former and Razgatlioglu joining the latter. Honda, meanwhile, has intimated it wants to keep its current pair of Ikea Lecuona and Xavi Vierge but has been forced to wait until other threads out of its control unfold.

Axel Bassani, Motocorsa Racing, Ducati Panigale V4 R, 2023 WorldSBK, Misano, action [credit/ 2Snap/GeeBee]

Axel Bassani set to go green for 2024 WorldSBK season

While it may still be smarting from the looming loss of its ambassador in Rea, Kawasaki hasn’t waited around in searching for a ‘rebound’ signing with top independent Bassani expected to be confirmed in the coming days.

The young Italian has emerged as a surprise revelation since making his low key WorldSBK debut in 2021. Despite racing with one of the smaller teams on the grid, Bassani has developed into a regular and consistent front runner and currently sits fifth in the overall standings ahead of the vastly more experienced Michael Ruben Rinaldi and Danilo Petrucci.

As such, many were surprised to see him passed over for a promotion to the factory Aruba Racing team but Rea’s defection to Yamaha has instead opened up an opportunity for him to get his much desired works-backed ride for 2024.

Why Marc Marquez in MotoGP is holding up key WorldSBK deals

Such is the hierarchy that is motorcycle racing, you have to go as far up the chain as Marc Marquez to determine who will get the remaining seats available on the 2024 WorldSBK grid.

Indeed, as the Spaniard mulls a potential switch to Gresini Ducati for the 2024 MotoGP season, should he indeed depart Honda then it is likely Johann Zarco - currently committed to LCR - would instead switch to Repsol colours for 2024.

In his place would likely come Iker Lecuona, the ex-KTM MotoGP rider having dovetailed his HRC WorldSBK commitments with several outings for Honda in the premier class this year already.

Should this occur then Rinaldi is the favourite to replace Lecuona at Honda, where he would be paired with the retained Xavi Vierge.

Alternatively, if Marquez commits to Honda - meaning Lecuona probably stays where he is in WorldSBK - then Rinaldi has a good shot at securing Bassani’s vacant Motocorsa Ducati seat.


However, he could find himself in competition with Philip Oettl, who looks set to be ousted from the Go Eleven Ducati by Andrea Iannone, or Loris Baz, who showed his form on the Ducati V4 during a handful of podium-winning substitute outings in 2021.

As for the remaining seats on the 2024 WorldSBK grid, GRT Yamaha will stick with Dominique Aegerter and Remy Gardner, while BMW is expected to upgrade Bonovo Racing to ‘factory-like’ status so as to accommodate both Michael van der Mark and Scott Redding on equal machinery, regardless of which is designated to partner Razgatlioglu in the Shaun Muir Racing set-up.

Articles you may like


More WorldSBK

linkedin facebook pinterest youtube rss twitter instagram facebook-blank rss-blank linkedin-blank pinterest youtube twitter instagram