Ex-MotoGP rider Tito Rabat returns to WorldSBK grid with Puccetti Kawasaki

Tito Rabat will be back on the 2021 WorldSBK grid in Portimao aboard the Puccetti Kawasaki as Lucas Mahias prepares to go under the knife

Tito Rabat

Ex-MotoGP rider Tito Rabat will make a return to the 2021 WorldSBK Championship grid for this weekend’s event in Portimao as he replaces Lucas Mahias on the Puccetti Kawasaki.

The Spaniard - the 2014 Moto2 World Champion - became the latest MotoGP rider to defect to WorldSBK at the start of the 2021 season with Barni Racing Ducati.

However, the Spaniard struggled to make an impression on the satellite Panigale V4 R with his best finish of the season peaking with a ninth at Estoril. As such, Rabat and Barni parted ways ahead of Round 9 in Barcelona.

Nevertheless, Rabat will line up again in Portugal this weekend on the Puccetti Kawasaki ZX-10RR vacated by Mahias, who looks set to sit out the final three events in Portugal, Argentina and Indonesia.

This will mark Rabat’s first outing on Kawasaki machinery having been linked to joining the factory team alongside Jonathan Rea for 2020 before penning a new MotoGP deal with Avintia Racing.

“I’m very happy to have this great opportunity. I know the Portimao track as I’ve raced here with the MotoGP and trained at the circuit with a road bike. I hope to have a good weekend, score good results and demonstrate my potential. I want to thank Manuel Puccetti and the whole team for offering me this chance, which I hope to fully exploit.”

Mahias will undergo surgery on his wrist after fracturing his scaphoid in an accident at Assen earlier this year. However, he has also been criticised for being involved in numerous incidents, including the accident that led to Chaz Davies to be sidelined with two broken ribs in Barcelona.

Despite this, he is still expected to remain with the team for the 2022 WorldSBK season.