Wildcards, replacements and super subs: from MotoGP™ stars to fresh talent, the WorldSBK, WorldSSP and WorldSSP300 grids will be packed with new names this weekend
The 2020 MOTUL FIM Superbike World Championship’s excitement and unpredictability rumbles into Catalonia for the first time in its history for yet another installation of thrilling racing. However, there’s a lot of new faces to get used to this weekend with a whole host of rider line-up updates for the sixth round of the Championship (the fifth for WorldSSP300). Get to know who is where for the inaugural Acerbis Catalunya Round.
The big news in WorldSBK is that former MotoGP™ star and podium finisher Jonas Folger (Bonovo Action by MGM Racing) will make his World Superbike debut as a wildcard. The German rider hundreds of miles under his belt at Catalunya and hopes to impress ahead of a desired full-time WorldSBK move in 2021.
Elsewhere, Marco Melandri has stepped down from his ride at the Barni Racing Team which means the Italian team will have a third rider on the bike in 2020. Welcome Samuele Cavalieri, who debuted in WorldSBK in 2019 and was a point-scorer at Misano. He will take over the role at the Ducati squad and the young Italian hopes to shine brightly at Catalunya for his first appearance of 2020. At the OUTDO TPR Kawasaki team, Roman Ramos is absent whilst Sandro Cortese continues his recovery, meaning they, like Barni, have a third rider; Valentin Debise is the rider and having been a top ten finisher in WorldSSP before as well as French Supersport runner-up, he’ll make his WorldSBK debut this weekend. Leandro Mercado (Motocorsa Racing) is back and hopes to be back on track should he be declared fit ahead of the round.
In World Supersport, second in the Championship Jules Cluzel (GMT94 Yamaha) is replaced by Kyle Smith, following his lower left leg fracture sustained in a crash with Raffaele De Rosa (MV Agusta Reparto Corse) at Aragon in the Teruel Round. Hikari Okubo (Dynavolt Honda) is once again absent and replaced by Spanish star Miquel Pons for Simon Buckmaster’s team. Jaimie van Sikkelerus (MPM Routz Racing Team) is replaced by fellow Dutchman Glenn van Straalen, who is back in the class and up from WorldSSP300 whilst there’s also two wildcards – Guillem Erill (DEZA-ISMABON Racing Team) and Oscar Gutierrez Iglesias (GMT94 Yamaha).
Into WorldSSP300 and there’s a raft of swaps and changes. The breaking news from the class is that Ana Carrasco (Provec Kawasaki WorldSSP300) is out for the rest of the year after sustaining multiple injuries in a testing crash at Estoril. Jan-Ole Jahnig (Freudenberg KTM Junior Team) isn’t present, and neither is the Freudenberg KTM WorldSSP Team pairing of Christian Stange and Maximilian Kappler. Marc Garcia joins 2R Racing and replaces Victor Rodriguez Nuñez, who in-turn goes to the EAB Ten Kate Racing Yamaha team in place of Glenn van Straalen. David Kurban (ACCR Czech Talent Team – Willi Race) replaces the still-injured Miroslav Hrava and Romain Dore returns to the class in the Dore Racing Team.
Emanuele Vocino (Gradaracorse) will not be present whilst Pedro Fragoso (Machado Came SBK) replaces Gaetan Matern. Onto the wildcards and Iker Garcia Abella (Alarxa Team Pons) joins the field, along with Angel Heredia (DEZA-ISMABON Racing Team). There’s also an array of one-event riders, with former star Beatriz Neila returning with Team TRASIMENO. Francesc Perez Casas is with ETG Racing and Javier Corral Arias joins with the I+ Dent Racing Team. Oliver Konig (MOVISIO by Freudenberg Jr Team) returns whilst the OUTDO TPR Kawasaki team enter two riders: Italian Nicola Bernabe and Spaniard Daniel Mogeda.
Follow the action from the first ever round from Catalonia with the WorldSBK VideoPass!