Barni Racing has announced it will step up to the World Superbike Championship in 2015 with its Superstock 1000 title-winning rider Leandro Mercado riding a Ducati 1199 Panigale.

One of the most successful teams in both the European Superstock championship and its native Italian Superbike series, Barni has been linked with a move into World Superbikes for several years, but only now has it taken the decision to graduate.

Having beaten Lorenzo Savadori to SSTK 1000 glory in the final round at Magny-Cours, Mercado's inclusion sees him return to the World Superbike Championship after a part-season campaign with Pedercini Kawasaki in 2013. The Argentinian is proud to be leading Barni's foray into WSBK

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"I am very happy to get this opportunity," he said. "In all these years I have worked hard to achieve this goal and I feel that now is the right time to prove myself. Barni Racing has proved to be one of the best teams in the paddock and I have no doubt that we face a championship level.

"This year has been a fantastic year: we have earned the title of the Superstock 1000 FIM Cup and I had great satisfaction by participating as a wild card in CiV SBK. I want to once again thank Marco Barnab? for the trust you showed me, the whole team, the sponsors, my family and all the people who helped me, supported me over the course of my career. From now on I will work even harder to introduce the first race at the most competitive. "

For team manager Marco Barnabo, he feels the time is right for Barni to progress to the Superbike class having established itself as a formidable contender in the Superstock category.

"The sporting ambition and great desire to confront in leagues increasingly important and competitive led us to make the decision to participate in the 2015 World Superbike Championship. It will be a very busy that we want to take the most of our strengths. I have full confidence in the preparation of my team and I am confident that by working as we have demonstrated over the years, we collect a lot of satisfaction.

"For this important beginning, I decided to confirm the guidance of our Ducati 1199 Panigale Leandro Mercado as well as being a worthy young, is above all a very talented rider. We have been working closely together for a year and, with the title win in the Superstock 1000 FIM Cup, has proved to be a winning rider, securing my full confidence."

Barni's move means Ducati's presence in WSBK is already guaranteed to be rise to five bikes in 2015, alongside the factory team (Chaz Davies, Davide Giugliano) and Althea Racing (Nico Terol, Matteo Baiocco)