The long winter period may be in full swing but there is still time to look back at the 2023 WorldSBK Championship season as BSN brings you our rundown of the Top 10 WorldSBK Riders of the Year.
Kicking off the top five is rookie standout Danilo Petrucci
|Barni Spark Racing
|Ducati Panigale V4 R
|2nd [R8 - Most]
The ever-popular, ever-smiling Danilo Petrucci was a welcome addition to the WorldSBK ranks in 2024, the ex-MotoGP rider cultivating a quietly impressive rookie campaign that bodes well for the future.
A return to where it all started for ‘Petrux’ of sorts, the Italian - who leapt from Superstock 1000 all the way to make his MotoGP (CRT) bow in 2012 - represents one of the few riders to have made it big in the MotoGP premier class from a debut via the production-based ranks.
More than a decade on, not only was Petrucci back in the paddock but he was also back with the same Barni Racing team with which he raced in SSTK 1000 back in the day.
The familiar surroundings helped offset Barni’s less prominent ‘satellite team’ status and a competitive reputation that had been left rather bruised from a series of disappointing seasons, the Italian outfit going on to enjoy its best results in WorldSBK for five years.
While the man himself wasn’t always terribly enthused with his results, Petrucci - having already honed his Superbike skills with a competitive season in MotoAmerica - gradually found his groove in competitive surroundings and gelled well with the Ducati Panigale V4 R.
Kinder to tyres than most of his rivals, Petrucci could often be found making good gains during the latter stages of a race, charges that would take him all the way to the podium on three occasions.
While he fell just short of mounting a proper challenge against Axel Bassani for the Independent Riders’ title, Petrucci’s slick and stealthy ability to tally up strong finishes consistently would be rewarded with a fine seventh overall and top rookie status.
BSN’s Top 10 WorldSBK Riders of 2023
6 - Andrea Locatelli
8 - Garrett Gerloff
10 - Alex Lowes