2013 WSBK grid taking shape ahead of test
Max Biaggi's retirement and Ducati's move to Team Alstare brings some certainties to a 2013 World Superbike line up that is otherwise shrouded in unknowns...
With the announcement that champion Max Biaggi is to retire at the top and Ducati will entrust its support to series returnees Alstare next year, the 2013 World Superbike Championship grid is slowly beginning to take shape ahead of this week's group test at Motorland Aragon.
With a month having now passed since the final round of the season, the rider market has proven unusually static since Magny-Cours with just 12 riders officially confirmed for 2013.
That's not to say there haven't been some interesting developments, not least Biaggi's decision to hang up his helmet and Ducati switching its allegiance from 2011 champions Althea Racing to former Suzuki stalwarts Team Alstare.
As it stands, the six manufacturers that participated in 2012 will be present in 2013 in various forms, with notable changes beyond Ducati seeing BMW switch backing to the GoldBet Italia operation and Honda receive title backing from PATA.
Of the manufacturer nominated teams, only Aprilia is yet formalise its full line-up, though Sylvain Guintoli is highly expected to join Eugene Laverty in place of Biaggi.
Interestingly, just one fully privateer team has firmed its place on the 2013 grid with Red Devils Roma putting Michel Fabrizio on an Aprilia, though former race winner Max Neukirchner has been seen testing a Ducati 1199 Panigale ahead of his anticipated return in 2013.
Rumours elsewhere suggest Althea Racing will continue with Davide Giugliano, potentially on an Aprilia, BMW or Kawasaki, while ParkinGO has been linked to either backing Chaz Davies or running its own BMW satellite team and Pedercini are tipped to enter a pair of Kawasakis once more.
2013 World Superbike grid thus far:
BMW Italia Motorrad
FIXI Crescent Suzuki
Red Devils Roma
Alstare Ducati 1199 Panigale