WSB Ti­tle con­tenders are ready for blast- off

WSB sea­son im­mi­nent with new bikes, rid­ers and liv­er­ies in ac­tion next week

Motorcycle News (UK) - - Buying & Selling - OLI RUSHBY MCN SPORT RE­PORTER oli.rushby@mo­tor­cy­cle­

‘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 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.

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