The new season is upon us and, as the riders go against the clock in anger for the first time this year, let’s catch up with who is riding what bike and on which team, and just because nothing challenges the fates like scrying the future, we will make some bold and inaccurate predictions. There are twenty riders, ten of whom have won a world title while three of the rest have a national title under their belt.
Kawasaki Racing Team
Jonathan Rea - 1
The current World Superbike champion is aiming for his third title in a row and remains the favourite.
Prediction: Will likely win the title.
Tom Sykes - 66
Last year’s runner up and the last man to win the title before his teammate took over.
Prediction: Top three finisher, title contender
Aruba.it Racing - Ducati
Chaz Davies - 7
Third-placed last year, Davies won the last six races of the year, finding solid form after the summer break.
Prediction: Another serious contender for the title.
Marco Melandri - 33
After an absence from World Championship racing, the former 250cc World Champion makes a welcome return on the Ducati Panigale.
Prediction: It’s unlikely he will make an early impact, but look for podiums and wins in the last two thirds of the season. Lots of fast laps.
Pata Yamaha Official WorldSBK Team
Michael van der Mark - 60
Finally splitting with Honda, the former World Supersport champion takes over from Sylvain Guintoli on a bike that made a solitary appearance on the podium last year.
Prediction: On a good day, he could push some bigger names off the podium, but the Yamaha isn’t a race-winning bike yet.
Alex Lowes - 22
Finishing at best fifth last year, the former British Superbike champion will be trying for that elusive podium.
Prediction: Quicker than his teammate for the first half of the year.
Red Bull Honda World Superbike Team
Nicky Hayden - 69
The only man out of the top three to win a race last year, The former MotoGP world champion has a new sponsor and teammate.
Prediction: Another win is certainly on the cards, but he will spend most of the year looking forward to next year's bike.
Stefan Bradl - 6
The former Moto2 world champion makes the switch to production bikes this year and will likely be surprised by how easy it isn’t.
Prediction: A win.
Althea BMW Racing Team
Jordi Torres - 81
Last year’s sixth placed rider in his second year on the BMW. He could win on an Aprilia, but not on the BMW.
Prediction: He will be quick, but he will be sad every time an Aprilia overtakes him.
Markus Reiterberger - 21
The former Superbike IDM champion is also in his second year on the BMW, the bike he won his national title on.
Prediction: Not as quick as Torres.
MV Agusta Reparto Corse
Leon Camier - 2
The former British Superbike champion is in his third full year with MV Agusta and got very close to the podium last year.
Prediction: He will get a podium on a day of odd racing.
BARNI Racing Team
Xavi Fores - 12
The former Superstock 1000 champion got a podium last year and had moments of brilliance on his non-factory Ducati.
Prediction: Occasional flashes of quickness once again, but a podium is unlikely unless events conspire in his favour.
Lorenzo Savadori - 32
Another former Superstock 1000 champion, he did very well last year on a bike that could have done better.
Prediction: He will get very used to reading the back of his teammate’s leathers.
Eugene Laverty - 50
No titles to his name, but that’s not through lack of trying as he collected lots of runner-up prizes. An entertaining and quick rider on a bike that kept surprising people last year.
Prediction: If the wind blows the right way, he will get to taste Prosecco a few times.
Pedercini Racing SC-Project
Alex De Angelis - 15
After a hard-earned podium last year, moving to a slower Kawasaki will not serve him well.
Prediction: He will be fighting for single-digit points a lot
Grillini Racing Team
Ondrej Jezek - 37
Fourteenth last year on the Grillini Kawasaki.
Prediction: Fourteenth seems about right.
Ayrton Badovini - 86
Former Superstock 1000 champion and a deep believer in using the rear tyre as a steering mechanism, Badovini is back after a year on World Supersport.
Prediction: He’ll look good on track, but that’s not a winning bike.
Team Kawasaki Go Eleven
Roman Ramos - 40
His third year in World Superbike, he finished fifteenth both years previous.
Prediction: Someone has to finish out of the points for everyone else to finish inside them. Sometimes, that’ll be Ramos
Riccardo Russo - 84
If the factory Yamahas need work to be competitive, Russo has his work cut out for him on the Guandalini Yamaha.
Prediction: See Ramos.
Kawasaki Puccetti Racing
Randy Krummenacher - 88
The ever-smiling Swiss rider finished third in World Supersport last year, his first year of production racing. His team is new to this class, but they put out a very quick ZX6R and there’s no reason they can’t give Randy a bike to challenge near the front.
Prediction: Top ten results are likely.
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