The 2012 World Superbike Championship is slowly beginning to come together following a flurry of announcements in the wake of the final 2011 meeting.
So far, twelve riders are confirmed with deals for next season, though two teams – Ducati Roma and Crescent Suzuki – will likely add an extra three names having announced its participation without revealing its riders.
Leading the entry list is reigning champion Carlos Checa, who will stay at Althea Ducati after very nearly making a shock switch to BMW for 2012. A big boost for the Italian team, it will also expand to two bikes in 2012 with the signing of its Superstock winner Davide Giugliano.
BMW has both its Motorrad and Italia line-ups sorted with Leon Haslam and Marco Melandri in the former and Ayrton Badovini and Michel Fabrizio making up the latter.
Aprilia also has two bikes on the grid, with Max Biaggi and Eugene Laverty, though it remains to be seen whether the Irishman – who will definitely get a factory-supported RSV-4 – will have a place alongside the 2010 champion in the 'Alitalia' team.
Effenbert-Liberty Ducati has announced its first signing for 2012 with the retention of Sylvain Guintoli, while Honda has firmed its line-up with Jonathan Rea and Hiroshi Aoyama.
With Yamaha confirming its departure, WSBK will be relieved to see ParkinGO and Crescent step up to the WSBK ranks, the latter representing Suzuki at a time when the manufacturer is yet to confirm whether it will back the Alstare squad again.
With Kawasaki and Pedercini Kawasaki yet to announce their line-ups, WSBK 2012 is on course to at least match grid numbers from 2011, while KTM has already confirmed it plans to make sporadic appearances with a view to joining the series full-time in 2013.
2012 World Superbike grid thus far: