Luca Vitali replaces injured Konig at Orelac Kawasaki for Misano WorldSBK debut

Luca Vitali will make his MOTUL FIM Superbike World Championship debut in 2023 as he replaces Oliver Konig (Orelac Racing MOVISIO) for the Pirelli Emilia-Romagna Round at the Misano World Circuit “Marco Simoncelli” this weekend. The 31-year-old Italian has a wealth of experience in a variety of classes and will also aim to utilise it at a circuit he knows well, with Misano being a stone’s throw from where’s from, Rimini. Konig is missing the round due to an ankle injury sustained in Barcelona at the start of May, after a Race 1 highside on Lap 2 at Turn 4.

Vitali has plenty of experience from within the WorldSBK paddock, last making an appearance in 2018 and the final season of the FIM European Superstock 1000 class, finish all races inside the top ten, with the exception of Portimao when he didn’t finish. A best result in the class is fourth, coming that year at Donington Park. He also has previous experience in Superstock 600 action, where he achieved a best result of fourth too, coming on two occasions, the last of which came at Magny-Cours in 2015, the final race for the class. Alongside his experience in the WorldSBK paddock, he also has 125cc Grand Prix experience with 17 starts.

However, his recent exploits have been onboard Superbike machinery in the CIV Italian Superbike class, with 18 podiums dating back to 2018, whilst last year gave him a first victory. In 2023, he has one podium to his name, coming at Misano in P2. Ahead of his WorldSBK debut at Misano, Vitali has seven podiums at the Italian venue across BMW and Honda machinery, but this weekend he’ll be aboard ZX-10RR Kawasaki machinery.

Posting on Facebook, it was a late call-up for Vitali: “This weekend, I’m going to take on a World Superbike race for the first time. I was planning on coming to see the round like every year, but the Orelac Racing MOVISIO team called me last night, which definitely changed my weekend plans! It’s going to be hard never tried this bike, let alone a WorldSBK bike, but lets see what we can get. Luckily, at least I know the track well. I’m very curious right now.”

Posting on Instagram, Oliver Konig shared his disappointment and not being able to ride, but stated that the health of his ankle has to come first: Unfortunately, the health of my ankle does not allow me to participate in the next WorldSBK event. So, for the safety of mine and the other riders, we have decided to skip this weekend and hopefully, we will be fully prepared for the next race. Good luck to the team at Misano. I apologise to all my supporters and partners.”

Watch the 2023 Pirelli Emilia-Romagna Round in style with the WorldSBK VideoPass!


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