HEAD-TO-HEAD: how do riders stack up against each other in 2024?

With two rounds completed in the 2024 MOTUL FIM Superbike World Championship, a picture begins to emerge about who is coming out on top against their teammates – with some early surprises in store. Here, we explain who’s coming out on top in the opening stages, where riders are impressing but also losing ground.

SURPRISES IN STORE: Bulega leads the Championship, Bautista ahead in races

Nicolo Bulega (Aruba.it Racing – Ducati) has shown impressive speed so far in his rookie campaign, racking up 87 points and one win. However, Alvaro Bautista holds the advantage overall, leading ‘Bulegas’ 4-2 in races. Interestingly, Bulega beats Bautista when taking Race 1 in isolation, leading 2-0, but the #1 responds on Sunday, holding a 4-0 advantage over the Sunday races held so far. Bulega’s results in Superpole – first and second – mean his average result is the best with 1.5, while Bautista’s is 10 thanks to ninth and 11th in Superpole results (not including any grid penalties). In races, it’s much more evenly matched: Bulega averaging 3.0 in races, Bautista 4.67 despite an anomaly of 15th in Australia Race 1 thanks to a crash.

RAZGATLIGOLU SURGES INTO THE LEAD: new team, new bike, no problem

Toprak Razgatlioglu (ROKiT BMW Motorrad WorldSBK Team) already has two BMW wins to his name, and he’s also got the upper hand over teammate Michael van der Mark so far. The #54 leads van der Mark 5-1, with the Dutchman only finishing ahead in Race 2 in Australia when Razgatlioglu had a technical problem. 2021 Champion Razgatlioglu averages 3.0 in Superpole while his teammate averages 10 but, again, it’s closer in races they’ve finished: 2.6 for Razgatlioglu, 8.5 for van der Mark who, aside from one race, has been consistently in the top ten and showing his best form following his return to full fitness.

EARLY ADVANTAGE TO LOWES: a whitewash against Bassani so far

Kawasaki have enjoyed a strong start to 2024, with Alex Lowes (Kawasaki Racing Team WorldSBK) taking two wins and finishing in the top six in every race. It means he has a 6-0 advantage in races over new teammate Axel Bassani, as the #47 adapts to the ZX-10RR. Lowes has an average finishing position of 3.83, compared to Bassani’s 11.6 and it’s a big gap in Superpole too: an average of 5 for Lowes in the results, 15 for Bassani. It’s also one of the biggest average gaps when setting the grid, with the #22 0.810s faster than Bassani in the two Superpole sessions so far.

LOCATELLI LEADS REA: an early surprise at Yamaha?

Jonathan Rea (Pata Prometeon Yamaha) came into the Yamaha team hoping to fight at the front on a consistent basis, but that’s not happened in 2024 yet. Without points until Race 2 in Barcelona, the #65’s struggles coupled with Andrea Locatelli’s rapid pace mean the Italian leads 5-1 over Rea, with the six-time Champion finishing ahead in Race 2 in Barcelona when ‘Loka’ was caught up in someone else’s accident. Locatelli has an average finishing position of sixth, but that’s lowered when considering his Barcelona Race 2 result of 13th, while Rea’s average is 12th when finishing races.

STRUGGLES AT HONDA: one top-ten finish, only Barcelona compared

With Iker Lecuona (Team HRC) ruled out of action for Australia, it’s only fair to look at the Catalunya Round when comparing him to Xavi Vierge. The #97 leads Lecuona 2-1 in races, with Lecuona 1-0 up in Superpole and, as usual, their gap is very close. In Barcelona, only 0.020s separated the duo in the Superpole results. Honda’s best result in 2024 is tenth, which came in Race 1 in Australia courtesy of Vierge, with his average finishing position 13th and Lecuona’s 17th (Vierge’s average includes the opening round).

THE NEW ERA CONTINUES: follow every moment from 2024 using the WorldSBK VideoPass!

Source: WorldSBK.com

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *