Motocorsa Racing joins 2020 WorldSBK grid, signs Leandro Mercado

Leading Italian Superbike team Motocorsa Racing steps up to the 2020 WorldSBK Championship with Leandro Mercado; 20 bikes now confirmed for new season

Motocorsa Racing Ducati Panigale V4 R

Motorcorsa Racing has announced it will step up to the 2020 WorldSBK Championship with Argentine rider Leandro Mercado.

The leading CIV Superbike team has made two separate appearances on the WorldSBK stage in 2019 with wild-card outings at Imola and Misano – achieving a top ten result in the former event – but for 2020 will become a full-time competitor, albeit from round three onwards at Jerez.

On riding duties will be former Superstock 1000 champion and experienced racer Mercado, who will ride a Ducati Panigale V4 R having spent the last two seasons with the Orelac Kawasaki team.

Set to be his sixth season in WorldSBK, Mercado is a regular top ten finishers and ended the 2015 season eighth overall last time he rode a Ducati campaigned by Barni Racing.

“I’m really pleased to be able to compete with Team Motocorsa and to ride once again with a Ducati. I’ve known Lorenzo Mauri for several years, we have the same goals and at last we can race together. I’m convinced that we will work hard to achieve excellent results together.

“I can’t wait to get started in the January winter tests and finally try the Ducati V4 R. I want to thank all our sponsors as well as Motul for making this project possible.”

The deal ensures at least five Ducati Panigale V4 Rs on the 2020 WorldSBK grid together with Scott Redding and Chaz Davies on the factory bikes, Leon Camier on the Barni machine and Michael Ruben Rinaldi riding for Goeleven.

2020 WorldSBK set to expand compared with 2019

Motocorsa Racing’s decision to step up to WorldSBK from 2020 signals another positive addition to the grid and ensures there will be more full-time riders competing compared with 2019 when it peaked with 19 permanent entrants (after Loris Baz joined the fray)

Though Motocorsa and Mercado will skip the two flyaways at the start of the year, they still bring the number of confirmed 2020 WorldSBK riders to 20 with a at least two – probably three – more to come.

They will be Mercado’s former employer Orelac Racing, which has confirmed it will compete next season without revealing its rider, while the satellite MIE Racing Honda team is set to add a fourth new generation Honda CBR1000RR-R alongside Takumi Takahashi, possibly for Alessandro Delbianco.

Finally, Ten Kate Racing could add a second Yamaha R1 alongside Loris Baz provided it can source a title sponsor, with Sandro Cortese its prime target.