Who still needs to impress after two WorldSBK rounds in 2024?

Two rounds and six races down in the 2024 MOTUL FIM Superbike World Championship and there’s an idea of who’s impressing and who needs to find form. While the spotlight has been on race winners, rookies and podium contenders, some riders have found themselves wanting, and needing, more in the early stages of the season. Let’s take a look at some riders who will be hoping the TT Circuit Assen really starts their 2024 season.

A DIFFICULT START TO LIFE IN BLUE: first points come in sixth race…

Jonathan Rea (Pata Prometeon Yamaha) moved to Yamaha for 2024 with aspirations of fighting at the front, but that’s not happened after two rounds. Rear chattering issues in Australia left him out of the points until Race 2, where a crash dropped him out of contention. He returned for Barcelona but a clutch issue in Race 1 forced him to retire, and he finished 13th in the Tissot Superpole Race. Eighth in Race 2 meant he secured his first points, but it’s not the season the team, rider or manufacturer hoped for so far. With Assen up next – a circuit the Ulsterman won a track record 17 times at – can his 2024 kickstart in Round 3?

NEW BIKE, POOR RESULTS SO FAR: can Honda turn things around?

Honda introduced a new CBR1000RR-R machine to much fanfare at the 2023 EICMA show, but the results haven’t come through yet. Just a single top ten is their best, which came in Race 1 in Australia, and even the usual happy hunting ground of Barcelona was a struggle: 13th in Race 1 the best result there. Team HRC’s Iker Lecuona and Xavi Vierge will be hoping for more and Honda will be aiming to make some big leaps soon. They have a podium at Assen thanks to Lecuona so maybe the legendary Dutch circuit will be the catalyst they need this year.

BASSANI’S ADAPTATION: aiming to find a step

Axel Bassani (Kawasaki Racing Team WorldSBK) had a big move for 2024, leaving behind the Panigale V4 R machine and stepping on Kawasaki’s ZX-10RR. It’s a huge change for ‘El Bocia’ and there’s been little to shout about for Bassani so far. Tenth, in Race 1 at the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya, is the Italian’s best result so far while teammate Alex Lowes has won two races. It’s no surprise the #22 is ahead given his experience on the bike, but Bassani has shown his potential during his first three seasons in WorldSBK, and he’ll be looking to make steps as soon as possible.

GERLOFF AND REDDING: on the back foot?

Garrett Gerloff (Bonovo Action BMW) ended 2023 as the fastest BMW rider, securing a stunning pole position at Magny-Cours before fighting close to the podium in the final few rounds. Fast forward to 2024, and Gerloff’s been in the top ten on three occasions but not near the podium. It’s been a tricky start for the Texan, and not just for him at the team. Across the box, Scott Redding is yet to secure a top-ten finish, with a best of 11th. Both know they are capable of fighting at the front, on a bike that has two race wins in 2024, and they’ll be hoping there’s a breakthrough sooner rather than later.

MIXED RESULTS SO FAR: Rinaldi strong in Australia, not in Barcelona

Michael Ruben Rinaldi (Team Motocorsa Racing) left the Aruba.it Racing – Ducati squad for 2024 but found a new home at Motocorsa Racing, still on the Panigale V4 R. He showed good pace in Australia, taking sixth in Race 2 and fighting close to the podium places. However, in Barcelona, he was outside the top ten at a circuit he’s won at and been in podium contention a lot, which culminated in a retirement in Race 2 after a crash with rival Bassani. The #21 will be looking to be a consistent runner in the top ten as he’s shown he can do in his WorldSBK career.

THE NEW ERA CONTINUES: can riders find form at Assen? Find out using the WorldSBK VideoPass!

Source: WorldSBK.com

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