World Superbike 2002 entry list has changes

Old favourites, new faces, team personnel changes and one or two surprises are all included in the provisional entry list for this year& ...

Old favourites, new faces, team personnel changes and one or two surprises are all included in the provisional entry list for this year’s Superbike World Championship.

The third round of this year’s championship, with the provisional entry a league of nations, will be held at AA Kyalami from April 5 to 7. Presented by Vodacom, the event will also include rounds of the Supersport and Superside Sidecar World Championships, with the FIM this week releasing provisional entry lists for all three categories.

The three categories will be spearheaded by reigning world champions, but some familiar faces are missing from the SBK line-up. Gone are the likes of Aaron Sleight (Honda) and Tadyuki Okada (Honda), Akira Yanagawa (Kawasaki), Stephane Chambon (Suzuki) and Regis Laconi from Aprilia. New faces include British rider Mark Heckles on a Castrol Honda Rumi entry, and returning gladiators include the spectacular Noriyuki Haga and veteran Australian Peter Goddard.

There is also a return to the fold for legendary former champion Carl Fogarty. The Briton is now a team owner with Foggy Team Petronas to make it’s debut later in the year.

After an unsuccessful year in Grand Prix racing, the colourful Haga returns to action where he replaces former world champion Troy Corser, who has thrown in his lot with Carl Fogarty’s new Foggy Team Petronas squad. Goddard returns to action with the Benelli Sport Team on a Benelli Tornado.

There is also a team change for popular Italian rider Pierfrancesco Chili, who is a former double winner at AA Kyalami. After a couple of seasons with the Alstare Suzuki outfit, Chili is back on an Italian motorcycle with the Ducati NCR team.

Chili is replaced at Suzuki by former Kawasaki rider Gregorio Lavilla. Taking over from the Spaniard and Yanagawa at Kawasaki are Japanese rider Hitoyasi Izutsu, British rider Chris Walker and Eric Bostrom, brother of Ben Bostrom, who will ride in six selected events.

Fogarty’s new team includes former world champion Troy Corser and a new face in British rider James Haydon. The Fogarty squad will appear for the first time at Laguna Seca in round nine in July.

Reigning world champion Troy Bayliss and Ruben Xaus stay with Ducati Infostrada, and former champion Colin Edwards will again spearhead the Castrol Honda Challenge. British pair Neil Hodgson and James Toseland also stay with the HM Plant Ducati team.

-aa racing-

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Series World Superbike
Drivers Troy Bayliss , Colin Edwards , Stephane Chambon , Eric Bostrom , Noriyuki Haga , Neil Hodgson , Mark Heckles , Peter Goddard , Gregorio Lavilla , Ruben Xaus , Chris Walker , James Toseland , Troy Corser , James Haydon , Carl Fogarty , Akira Yanagawa , Laconi Régis , Ben Bostrom