Superbike World Championship | Alvaro Bautista, Jonathan Rea, Toprak Razgatlioglu – which of the three will take the title?

Text: Jarno van Oesch

It must have been a proud moment for Ducati’s president, Claudio Domenicali, to see the No. 1 in the presentations for his racing team. MotoGP star Francesco Bagnaia and World Superbike rider Alvaro Bautista both chose to hold on to the pole position on Ducati for 2023.

Which is great, because in recent years most motorsport world champions have chosen to keep their fixed number. The number 1 seems to inspire fear, and the reason is that it is difficult to use that number again after a year.


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We have to go back to a completely different era for the last Ducati rider who managed to do this. Carl Fogarty, 1999 into 2000. Bautista hopes to follow in the footsteps of the English legend, but then he has to deal with the power duo of Toprak Razgatlioglu and Jonathan Rea again.

Superpicks | Bautista crowns himself at Mandalica on Ducati as the new World Champion

Everything in everything

Just like last season, we will definitely see the necessary fireworks on the track again, because the 2022 tough duels between the current superpowers will certainly have a sequel.

While the rest of the field can’t match the speed of Bautista, Razgatlioglu and Rea, don’t expect boring races at World Superbike. On the contrary, because this trio is always fighting over (and sometimes over) the edge for the full loot.

Although the build-up time for the 2023 season was short, the engineers at Kawasaki and Yamaha did everything they could to get their engines ready for title rivals Rea and Razgatlioglu. This is also necessary if you want to track Bautista’s rocket, the Ducati Panigale V4R.


In addition to the fact that the Italian breed is very fast, the current world champion also benefits from his minimal stature (1.69m 60kg). Bautista’s Featherweight is closer to a rider’s weight than the average motorcycle rider’s and knows how to make the most of that advantage.

It is up to Rea and Razgatlioglu to see their gains in other areas, because the regulations will not help them. There has been talk of introducing a minimum weight (motorcycle + driver) rule, but that is certainly not (yet) the case in 2023.

Superpicks | Bautista leaves Aragon with two wins and as captain in the fight for the World Cup

Fear for Honda and BMW

In addition to the title battle between the three giants, it is also interesting to see if Honda and BMW will be able to connect next season. This isn’t really the case in 2022, but the outlook is promising. At least in Honda, the Japanese superpower that wants to make the necessary inroads into the Superbike World Championship once again. And they should be able to do that, especially with two talented drivers in Iker Lecona and Xavi Verge.

The Spaniard came off the MotoGP circuit last year and now has a year of experience with Honda’s production machine, the CBR1000RR-R Fireblade. With powerful upgrades and superior perks (more freedom to tune the machine) it’s time to grab podium spots.

Van der Mark

They also want to achieve this result at BMW, but the question is whether the current S1000RR is capable of this. Scott Redding and Michael van der Mark have to answer that question.

After a year lost due to serious injuries, Rotterdam have to show they still have the speed in them, as they have shown in the past. Although the pre-trials are not yet very hopeful, Van der Mark is a true racer who stands out especially in the races.

He peaked at the moments when it mattered, and is an important asset that Van der Mark should definitely use in this important year for him (contract with BMW ends).

Phillip Island | Rea ends an unusually long streak without a win

New arrivals quickly

In addition to the spectacle of the usual suspects, the World Superbike Championship is getting a big boost with the arrival of some fast starters. Or at least that is expected. For example, Dominique Aegerter, the 2021 and 2022 World Supersport Champion, is moving to GRT Yamaha and can immediately show what he’s worth.

the reason? Battle for the leader position within the team. Next to the Swiss will be a very interesting driver, world champion too. After a year out of MotoGP, Remy Gardner is embarking on a brand new adventure and it seems to be a perfect fit for him. During the first tests, he showed that he had little problem switching to the Yamaha YZF-R1.

Sports Force | An intense rivalry between Rea and Razgatlioglu in World Superbikes


And with Lorenzo Baldassarri (GMT94 Yamaha), the Japanese manufacturer has its third Superbike world debutant who can only look so high in this championship. Who will definitely do this is 32-year-old Danilo Petrucci. The always cheerful driver is very experienced (MotoGP, Dakar Rally, AMA Superbike), knows how to use his right hand and winds up in a familiar nest.

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The Italian has already ridden Barni Ducati (2011, European Superstock 1000), which will certainly help him quickly acclimatize in World Superbike. With Petrucci and other newcomers quickly arriving, the 2023 season is packed with excellent ingredients to make it a spectacle.

Superpicks | Razgatlioglu wins the Superpole race after failing to pass Rea on the last lap

2023 World Motorcycle Calendar

February 24-26: Australia, Phillip Island
March 3-5: Indonesia, Mandalika
April 21-23: Holland, TT Circuit Assen
May 5-7: Catalonia and Barcelona
June 2-4: Emilia-Romagna, Misano
30 June – 2 July: UK, Donington Park
July 14-16: Italy, Imola
July 28-30: Czech Republic, Most
September 8-10: France, Magny-Cours
Sept. 22-24: Aragon, Motorland
September 29 – October 1: Portimao, Portugal
October 13-15: Argentina, San Juan Felicum

Phillip Island | Michael van der Mark fell off his bike just before the end of the first race

Where are you looking?

Experience the thrill and feel of the new World Superbike World Championship season. You can of course watch all the races (Superbike World Cup, Supersport World Cup and 300 Supersport World Cup) live on the platforms of Eurosport and Discover +With Dutch commentary.


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Amber Webster

 "Freelance zombie fanatic. Devoted web advocate. Analyst. Writer. Coffee fanatic. Travelaholic. Proud food aficionado."

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