Kawasaki signs Bassani to replace Yamaha-bound Rea in WSBK

Kawasaki has signed a multi-year deal with Axel Bassani to replace Jonathan Rea in its factory World Superbike team from 2024.

Axel Bassani, Motocorsa Racing

As reported by Motorsport.com earlier this month, Bassani will leave Motocorsa Ducati after three seasons to join Alex Lowes at Kawasaki next year.

It follows Rea’s decision to end his deal with Kawasaki with a year left on his contract and move to rival Japanese marque Yamaha.

Bassani has been selected to take the place of six-time champion Rea on the back of three stellar seasons in WSBK on a satellite Ducati, which has seen him score six podiums and two front row starts so far.

The Italian currently sits a strong fifth in the standings, one position ahead of Michael Ruben Rinaldi, and was in contention to replace his countryman at the factory Ducati squad for 2024 until being passed over in favour of Nicolo Bulega.

He will now leave the Ducati camp altogether and move to Kawasaki, which had been left scrambling for a replacement for Rea since the Ulsterman announced earlier this month that he would leave KRT amid frustrations over the team’s current form.

Kawasaki described Bassani as its “best prospect” for 2024, as it sets out to build a future without the rider with which it dominated WSBK in mid-to-late 2010s.

KRT had already locked in Lowes for 2024 earlier this year.

“Our 2024 strategy was set months ago, but Rea's move made us rethink the organisational logic at KRT,” Guim Roda, Team Manager of KRT said.

“We spoke internally with KMC and the decision was to take a younger rider with the potential to win races and who knew how to take advantage of all the KRT experience. 

“His image is fresh, sincere, fun and has a lot of potential to represent Kawasaki's image in the world. 

Axel Bassani, Motocorsa Racing, Jonathan Rea, Kawasaki Racing Team WSBK

Axel Bassani, Motocorsa Racing, Jonathan Rea, Kawasaki Racing Team WSBK

Photo by: Gold and Goose / Motorsport Images

“Alex Lowes will now need to apply all of his experience, while Axel will have a bit of time to learn. 

“We are very happy with the structure we have proposed for 2024 and we are very motivated to enjoy racing and take advantage of the best aspects of the Ninja ZX-10RR. I hope the fans enjoy next season with this latest project we are working on.”

Speaking about his move to Kawasaki, Bassani said:  “I'm really happy for the important opportunity that Kawasaki is offering me. 

“I will give the best of myself on and off the track to achieve the best possible results, hoping to give all the Kawasaki fans great emotions and satisfaction! 

“I want to thank my family for the sacrifices made and Lorenzo Mauri for the path we have taken together which has allowed me to stand out in recent years.”

Rea will partner Andrea Locatelli at Yamaha next year, taking the place of 2021 champion Toprak Razgatlioglu following the Turkish rider's shock switch to BMW.

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