The new World Superbike season is fast approaching and after a dominant year for Alvaro Bautista and Ducati, transfers at the front of the grid might just shake things up going into the new season.
Here are five riders that are worth keeping an eye on in the new season.
The most successful rider in World Superbikes history made one of the biggest transfers in recent times, leaving Kawasaki to join Yamaha for the 2024 season.
The six-time World Champion from Northern Ireland will be out to prove a point with a new team, where he will have a bike that can fight for race wins.
He only claimed one race victory in 2023, but still finished third in the standings showing that if you don’t take your chances, Jonny Rea will be waiting in the wings to capitalise.
Toprak is the rider that Jonny Rea is replacing at Yamaha as he makes the somewhat surprising switch to BMW for the 2024 season.
The 2021 World Superbike Champion finished second in the standings last season, but the BMW team could only manage a ninth-place finish in the Team’s Championship.
While this does appear to be more of a long-term project, with MotoGP links becoming less prominent for the Turkish rider, if he is in a place to challenge for podiums and even race wins he will give anyone a tough time out front.
Completing the trio of World Superbike title challengers over the past few seasons is Alvaro Bautista, who will be hoping consistency is key if he is to make it three title wins in a row.
Staying with the Aruba.it Ducati works team for another season is a massive boost for Baustira, with others possibly taking some time to settle into their new surroundings.
27 race wins in 2023 is an incredible achievement and if he can show that performance level again this season, the World Superbike record books might begin to be ripped up.
Another driver on the move for 2024 is Axel Bassani, who takes Jonny Rea’s place at Kawasaki.
He joins the team from, Motocorsa Racing – Ducati, where he has made solid progress year on year, going from ninth in the standings, to seventh and then to sixth last season.
With a best finish of second so far in his World Superbikes career, the Italian rider will be hoping that now he is with a works team, he can stand on the top step of the podium,
It is a risky move for a team like Kawasaki to lose someone as experienced as Rea, but with the team falling further away from the front race on race, it might be a risk worth taking with Bassani only 24 years of age and plenty of potential to show yet.
The 2021 British Superbike Champion will participate in a full World Superbikes season for the first time as he competes with the Petronas MIE Racing Honda Team.
He is stepping up from the Supersport World Championship, where he took victory in the Czech Republic.
MacKenzie has shown in the past what he is capable of and while the step up to World Superbikes might be a lot initially, his wildcard rides in the series in the past will put him in a strong position to hit the track full of confidence.