PREVIEW: 2024 fires up for WorldSSP300, will it be Buis vs Gennai from the start?

The FIM Supersport 300 World Championship is readying for its eighth season of action and where better to start than a venue that has provided some of the closest finishes in the Championship’s history: Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya. 11 race winners are on the grid, even more have had podiums, poles and fastest laps but there’s a clear favourite with a new challenge for the year ahead.

HEAVYWEIGHT FRONT-RUNNERS: Buis, Gennai and Vannucci – WorldSSP300’s titanic trio?

Reigning World Champion Jeffrey Buis (Freudenberg KTM-Paligo Racing) made history last year when he became the first rider in the class to be crowned a double Champion; now he aims to become KTM’s first Champion and the first in the class with two brands. A main rival in more ways than one will be Mirko Gennai (MTM Kawasaki), who replaces him at MTM Kawasaki. Gennai was third overall last year and just 27 points off the title and has similar history to be made in Race 1, Barcelona. He could become the first rider in WorldSSP300 history to win back-to-back races for different manufacturers – Yamaha last year in Portimao’s Race 2, perhaps Kawasaki in Race 1 of 2024? He and Buis shared the Barcelona wins last year. Matteo Vannucci (AG Motorsport Italia Yamaha) is the highest-placed returnee who doesn’t change teams; continuity has been crucial in previous seasons.

DARK HORSES: alternative takes for success

A Championship leader last year, Petr Svoboda (Fusport-RT Motorsports by SKM-Kawasaki) aims for consistency again but this time, over a full season. He, like Vannucci, stays in the same team with the hope that he can hit the ground running. A star in the second half of 2023, Loris Veneman’s (MTM Kawasaki) first year saw a podium and a win, although Barcelona was the only round he didn’t score points at in 2023. Expect him to contend this year, along with the likes of Daniel Mogeda (Team#109 Retro Traffic Kawasaki) and Marco Gaggi (Team BrCorse), both of whom took rostrums in 2023.

YEAR OF BOUNCING BACK: Di Sora, Sabatucci and Ieraci aim high

A big change awaits Samuel Di Sora (ARCO MotoR University Team) as the Frenchman moves from Kawasaki after five seasons to Yamaha and the 2022 World Champions ARCO MotoR University Team. He was on the podium in Race 1 in Barcelona last year and is something of a specialist in Montmelo. For ex-teammate Kevin Sabatucci (Team Flembbo-PL Performances), the Italian aims to win again for the first time in five years but it’s Bruno Ieraci (Prodina Kawasaki Racing) who is of real interest, having wildcarded and won both races at Misano last year; he’s back full-time in 2024.

DISCOUNT OF YOUR OWN ACCORD: a round-up of the others keen to make a mark

The AD78 FIM Latinoamerica by MS Racing squad and their all-Brazilian line-up of Enzo Valentim and Gustavo Manso will be as box-office as ever. Indonesian pairing Galang Hendra Pratama (ProGP Racing) and brother Aldi Mahendra (Team BrCorse) are race winners and will be in the mix. 2017 Champion Marc Garcia (Kove Racing Team) is keen to put Kove in the mix whereas ex-Moto3™ top ten finisher Elia Bartolini (Yamaha Motoxracing WorldSSP300 Team) is readying for his debut alongside Emiliano Ercolani, who was the Yamaha R3 European Champion in 2023. With fastest laps growing in stature, Briton’s Fenton Seabright (Kawasaki GP Project) is fast and ready to make a step. For a full look at the entry list, click here. To see who we’re tipping for success in the class, click here!

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