As well as heralding the debut of Eugene Laverty on a Suzuki and Claudio Corti riding an MV Agusta F4, the final week of testing for the World Superbike Championship at Jerez has also revealed the much vaunted EVO class is steadily beginning to take shape.
To be introduced from 2014, the EVO class will run within the WSBK races with machines that retain the same chassis, suspension and brake components as the equivalent Superbikes, but feature engines and electronics that conform to current Superstock regulations.
As it stands, just two EVO entries have been confirmed for 2014, with Team Grillini confirming it will run a pair of Kawasakis for the experienced Michel Fabrizio and Supersport graduate Sheridan Morais.
However, this week's test at Jerez would see a handful of prospective EVO teams and riders out on track, including Luca Scassa, Christian Iddon and Alessandro Andreozzi on a Pedercini Kawasaki, Sylvain Barrier with BMW Motorrad Italia and Jeremy Guarnoni on an MRS Kawasaki.
Indeed, the Japanese manufacturer, which clinched its first WSBK riders' title for two decades with Tom Sykes this year, appears to be the bike of choice for the EVO class, with - as previously reported
- Supersport front runners Mahi Racing also expected to enter the fray with former WSS champion Fabien Foret.
Furthermore, the factory Provec Kawasaki team is currently considering a third EVO-specification entry for David Salom in 2014 as a means of getting a head-start on the competition for when the series' adopts new regulations for 2015. The Spaniard – who contested a few races for Kawasaki this year as a replacement for the injured Loris Baz – was out on track in Jerez aboard the 'new' bike and was said to be lapping around two seconds off the Frenchman's pace.
Meanwhile, other teams mooted to be making a switch to the EVO class include Supersport outfits Team Toth and Team Lorini, while Superstock contenders MRS and H-Moto have also been linked to a move.
However, the much rumoured 'Down Under Motorsport' operation, helmed by former champion Troy Corser, appears to have been shelved until 2015 after failing to secure enough funds, while a prospective all-German BMW team including Max Neukirchner and IDM Champion Markus Reiterberger is also reported to have become stillborn.