Saeed Al Sulaiti will make his World Superbike Championship debut this season after penning a deal to join the Pedercini Kawasaki team.
The Qatari rider, who is backed by QMMF (Qatar Motor and Motorcycle Federation), has competed in the World Endurance Championship since 2010, but will make the move into World Superbikes this year alongside the already confirmed Sylvain Barrier.
Set to become the first Qatari rider to compete full-time in the World Superbike Championship, 30 year-old Al Sulaiti is looking forward to a bold new challenge.
“I am very excited about this new adventure,” he said. “I'm thankful to Team Pedercini Racing and QMMF, who are providing a unique opportunity to race with the top riders and to learn a professional working method in a highly cohesive team.
“My goal is to take this opportunity to boost my sporting ambitions and achieve better and better results throughout the season. I will certainly do my best to make 2016 an unforgettable year, the first of many more to follow!”
With Al Sulaiti paired with two-time Superstock 1000 champion Barrier, who was confirmed in December, eponymous team owner Lucio Pedercini is hoping the signing will pave the way for more interest in the region.
“Al Sulaiti comes from a country that has shown great interest in our sport,” Pedercini comments. “Placing our trust in him, we want to open the door and to promote the popularity of motorsport in a region with high potential, but still with few talented riders. Together with Saeed, we will show that our cultures have in common the same commitment to achieve important results. We will improve together and Saeed will be able to show his best. His bike is ready and I can't wait to see him in action.”
Qatar returned to the World Superbike schedule in 2014 and is now established as the season-ending round under floodlights. Only two Qatari riders have competed at World Superbike level before, though Talil Al Naimi and Mashel Al Naimi only took in local wild-card outings.