Indy star Bassani sticks with Motocorsa for 2023 WorldSBK, Barni axes Bernardi

One seat on the 2023 WorldSBK Championship is filled by Axel Bassani as another becomes available at Barni Ducati after it drops Luca Bernardi

Axel Bassani - Motocorsa Ducati

Rising star Axel Bassani will remain with Motocorsa Racing for the 2023 WorldSBK Championship it has been confirmed, while Barni Racing will end the season with Xavi Fores after axing Luca Bernardi.

One of the standouts of the WorldSBK Championship since making his debut with the Motocorsa squad in 2021, Bassani has emerged as a regular contender on the Ducati Panigale V4 R for podiums despite the team’s shoestring budget relative to its factory and most satellite rivals.

Clinching his first podium in Barcelona last season en route to ninth in the overall standings, Bassani has added two more trips to the rostrum this year and is currently embroiled in a fierce fight for fourth in the standings with works Yamaha rider Andrea Locatelli and factory Ducati man Michael Ruben Rinaldi.

Though tipped as a potential successor to Rinaldi in the Ducati squad on the back of his giant-killing performances, the Italian firm’s decision to stay loyal to its rider means Bassani extends his stay with Motocorsa for a third year.

“I’m really happy to continue with Motocorsa and we’ll see what happens! This year, we did a really good job and we continued in a good way and grew up a lot. I’m happy to stay with the mechanics and with all the team. 

“I hope to compete for the top three but it’s really difficult with Toprak, Jonny and Alvaro are on another level right now. We’ll aim for this and try to do the best possible. I hope to be on the podium every weekend! I want to enjoy the moment and this season, and after, during the winter break, I’ll start to focus on 2023.”

Barni Ducati WorldSBK seat opens up after Bernardi axe

While one Ducati seat for 2023 has been filled, another has unexpectedly become available after Barni Racing confirmed it has parted ways with Luca Bernardi after this weekend's Portimao WorldSBK event.

The Sammarinese signed with Barni on a two-year deal having turned heads with a series of strong performances in WorldSSP last year. However, a lengthy period out recovering from a back injury put Bernardi on the back foot in preparation for his WorldSBK graduation.

While Barni had talked up its commitment to fostering fresh talent at the start of the year, it has been unimpressed by Bernardi’s progress despite him finishing all-but-one race this year and scoring in 11 of them.

With Bernardi heading back to WorldSSP on the CM Racing Ducati Panigale V2, Barni has since called upon the experienced Xavi Fores to see out the season.

The Spaniard - last seen in WorldSBK with Puccetti Kawasaki in 2020 - has a historic association with Barni Racing after competing together in both SSTK 1000 and WorldSBK, with Fores achieving six podiums in the latter between 2016 and 2018.

Having spent his 2022 season dovetailing commitments in MotoE and EWC, for now Fores is only signed on for the final three flyaway rounds of the year, though he is hot favourite to assume the Barni Ducati seat for the 2023 WorldSBK season.