Ex-MotoGP rider Tito Rabat will return to the grid to contest the remainder of the 2023 WorldSBK Championship season after being snapped up by the Puccetti Kawasaki team.
The experienced Spaniard takes the seat vacated by Tom Sykes after the 2013 WorldSBK Champion accepted the offer to re-join the ROKiT BMW team while regular rider Michael van der Mark recovers from injury.
The 2014 Moto2 World Champion spent five seasons in MotoGP before swapping to the WorldSBK Championship for his debut campaign in 2021 with Barni Ducati.
However, when modest results led to a split mid-season, Rabat returned to action with Puccetti Kawasaki to complete the final three rounds of the season in place of the injured Lucas Mahias. He also represented the Italian team for one event in 2022.
“I’m pleased to return to Team Puccetti and Kawasaki. This is a great opportunity for me to return to WorldSBK but also keep up the race pace, because this year I’m competing in MotoE where there are not so many races.
"I’ll try to make the most of this opportunity and help Manuel Puccetti’s team as they continue to develop their bike. I have had some great times with this team and there is much respect both ways, so I think this is a good time to rejoin them and achieve more success.
"I want to have fun of course, and give it my all, but also complete all the races in order to collect as much data as possible. See you all at Misano!."
Though BMW would ultimately lure Sykes away from Puccetti Racing, the partnership with the English rider endured a torrid start to the year with several DNFs and only a single point to show for during the opening four rounds.
Team manager Manuel Puccetti is therefore hoping Rabat - who will dovetail his WorldSBK commitments with competing in the MotoE World Championship - can deliver on his return.
“I’m pleased to announce the return of Tito Rabat to our team. In both 2021 and 2022, the Spaniard was tasked with standing in for an injured rider, which is never easy, and he raced without having chance to test, so without knowing our bike.
"Despite that, Tito always proved to be the consummate professional, with significant experience under his belt in both the Moto2 and MotoGP championship.
"It will be a pleasure for us to have him back on the team for this home round of Misano, where our goal will be to continue developing the bike and try to improve on the results scored thus far.”
CLICK HERE to view 2023 WorldSBK Championship standings