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Ex-MotoGP rider Rabat replaces Sykes at Puccetti Kawasaki WSBK team

Ex-MotoGP rider Tito Rabat will return to the World Superbike championship as a replacement for Tom Sykes at the Puccetti Kawasaki team.

Tito Rabat, Kawasaki Puccetti Racing

Rabat takes over Puccetti’s sole customer ZX-10RR for the rest of the 2023 campaign, starting with next week’s Misano event, following the abrupt departure of 2013 WSBK champion Sykes four rounds into the season.

A disappointing start to the season for Sykes, who had only scored one point on his return to WSBK this year, prompted the British rider to leave Puccetti and take up the opportunity to return to BMW as an injury stand-in for Michael van der Mark.

Rabat previously rode for Puccetti in the final three rounds of the 2021 season, and then again at Misano last year. In both cases, he was filling in for an injured Lucas Mahias, with his best finish for the team being 11th place.

“This is a great opportunity for me to return to WorldSBK but also keep up the race pace, because this year I’m competing in MotoE where there are not so many races,” said 2014 Moto2 champion Rabat.

“I’ll try to make the most of this opportunity and help Manuel Puccetti’s team as they continue to develop their bike. I have had some great times with this team and there is much respect both ways, so I think this is a good time to rejoin them and achieve more success.

“I want to have fun of course, and give it my all, but also complete all the races in order to collect as much data as possible.”

Tom Sykes, Kawasaki Puccetti Racing

Tom Sykes, Kawasaki Puccetti Racing

Photo by: Gold and Goose / Motorsport Images

Rabat first raced in WSBK in 2021 with the Barni Racing Ducati team after losing his ride in MotoGP at the end of the previous year.

However, that alliance ended with five rounds remaining amid a lack of results, and since then he has focused on MotoE and the Spanish Superbike series, in which he won the title last year.

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