WSB Title contenders are ready for blast- off
WSB season imminent with new bikes, riders and liveries in action next week
‘Hayden’s Redbullbacked team will be running the new Blade’
The much anticipated 2017 race season is almost here with the World Superbike Championship kicking off the action in Australia next week.
Over the last week, all of the leading WSB squads unveiled their 2017 teams and liveries in Europe ahead of packing their machines into crates and shipping them to the other side of the world for the first round.
The launches come following a number of pre-season tests, which saw strong starts for championship favourites Jonathan Rea and Chaz Davies while new Milwaukee Aprilia recruits Eugene Laverty and Lorenzo Savadori also showed to be quick.
There will be one last chance to test their packages before the first race of the season at Phillip Island, with a two-day test set to take place at the iconic circuit on Monday and Tuesday next week.
RED BULL HONDA Nicky Hayden #69 Stefan Bradl #6
The biggest change in livery for 2017 comes from Nicky Hayden’s Honda team, which has bagged sponsorship from energy drinks giant Redbull.
It’s not the only change for the Ten Kate team either, as they’ll be running the brand new CBR1000RR Fireblade SP2 and also have 2011 Moto2 champion Stefan Bradl joining the fold.
ARUBA.IT DUCATI Chaz Davies #7 Marco Melandri #33
While the livery remains the same for 2017, the team line-up will change at the Aruba.it Ducati squad as bad boy Marco Melandri returns to WSB alongside Chaz Davies.
Davies, who won seven out of the final eight races last year, starts the season as a clear favourite to challenge Jonathan Rea for the title.
RACING TEAM KAWASAKI Jonathan Rea #1 Tom Sykes #66
Double WSB champion Jonathan Rea returns with his trusty ZX-10R as he looks to make history by becoming the first rider to win three WSB titles back-to-back.
Team-mate Tom Sykes has spent the winter trying to change his style as he looks to return to the form that saw him become champion in 2013.
MILWAUKEE APRILIA Eugene Laverty #50 Lorenzo Savadori #32
The British Shaun Muir Racing team switched from BMW to Aprilia machinery for 2017 with the all-new line-up of Motogp returnee Eugene Laverty and young Italian hotshot Lorenzo Savadori.
Heavy involvement from the Aprilia factory, including a number of engineers on site, looks set to see the British squad drastically improve their form in 2017.
PATA YAMAHA Alex Lowes #22 Michael van der Mark #60
Two of the hottest young talents in the paddock form the Crescent Yamaha squad for 2017 in the shape of Brit Alex Lowes and Dutchman Michael van der Mark.
Increased involvement from Japan and Yamaha Racing’s Italy HQ should help the team take a significant step forward with the YZF-R1 this year.