Xavi Fores quits BSB for 2020 WorldSBK return with Puccetti Kawasaki

Puccetti Kawasaki confirms it will replace the Yamaha-bound Toprak Razgatlioglu with Xavi Fores, who returns to the 2020 WorldSBK fray after a season in BSB

Xavi Fores - Barni Ducati

Xavi Fores will be present on the 2020 WorldSBK Championship grid after exiting Honda Racing in British Superbikes to replace Toprak Razgatlioglu at Puccetti Kawasaki.

The Spaniard is a familiar face on WorldSBK scene having spent three seasons with Barni Ducati between 2016 and 2018, during which he achieved six podiums for the privateer Italian team.

Earning himself a factory ride in the British Superbike Championship with Honda, it was a tough season for Fores to adapt to the electronics-free Honda CBR1000RR and the trickier UK circuits. Even so, he picked up podiums on familiar soil at Donington Park and only just missed out on a BSB Title Showdown spot.

Nevertheless, he will return to world stage for next season with top privateer outfit Puccetti Racing riding the Kawasaki ZX-10RR.

“I am really happy to re-join WorldSBK with the Kawasaki Puccetti Racing Team for next season. Manuel [Puccetti] and Kawasaki have built a very strong team in the last few seasons and it was very easy to make a deal with them. The bike is very strong and I think it can suit my riding style very well, so I was pushing hard to close the deal with Manuel. 

“I can’t wait to jump on the bike and start to work hard to prepare for next season to make sure we start Round One in Australia with a strong package and in good shape. I want to thank Kawasaki Europe for their big effort and their support, and I also want to thank Manuel for his trust in me.”

Xavi Fores joins Scott Redding in BSB-to-WorldSBK move

This is a favourable outcome for Fores, who couldn’t quite find his feet in BSB despite having factory backing from Honda.

Flashes of scintillating form were enjoyed on more familiar grounds like Donington Park – where he came to within a few seconds of a victory but still reeled off three podiums – while it was no coincidence to see his results in the second race of the weekend far exceeding his qualifying positions as he adapted ‘on the job’.

However, while he may have been tempted by a return to WorldSBK with Honda, relations reportedly frayed when Fores was blocked by Honda UK to substitute for the injured Leon Camier on the Moriwaki bike.

Fores has some big shoes to fill at Puccetti Kawasaki as he takes on a bike ridden to immense success – two wins and 13 total podiums in 2019 by Razgatlioglu – but the Spaniard was a similar talisman for Barni Ducati, a team that duly suffered from his departure this season.  

It will now be interesting to see how BSB looks to replace two big names in Redding and Fores, having now learnt they won’t be getting Leon Camier or Leon Haslam coming from WorldSBK in their place.