Having been something of an unknown quantity when he lined up for the opening round of the 2009 World Superbike Championship, Luca Scassa nonetheless did enough last season to earn himself a second shot, albeit this time with the new Supersonic Ducati team.
While it would be easy to discount Scassa as another Italian rider to come and fade into the background, he nonetheless arrives on the WSBK stage clutching some useful results in a variety of places, not least his race winning exploits in the FIM Superstock 1000 Championship.
Beginning his career in the Aprilia 125GP Challenge, Scassa finished as the third best placed rookie in 1999 before securing the overall runners-up spot in 2000 – behind MotoGP star Andrea Dovizioso.
Graduating to the 250GP Challenge in 2001, Scassa finished as champion in the European Cup, but an accident earlier in the season hurt his hopes of clinching the overall title.
Nonetheless, his performances had earned him the chance to move up to the Italian Superstock 600 Championship aboard a Kawasaki run by the Ormeni Racing team. Although underpowered compared to the opposition, Scassa showed good speed to secure ninth place in the standings and, with it, a chance to impress for another season with the same team. With a year of experience under his belt and an improved bike at his disposal, Scassa went on to dominate the championship.
Remaining with the same team, Scassa embarked on a graduation to the FIM Superstock 1000 Championship and was an immediate top ten competitor, finishing sixth in only his second race at Misano. A maiden podium on home ground at Imola followed later in the season as Scassa secured a strong seventh in the standings on his debut.
Riding the only full-time Kawasaki in the field, Scassa and Ormeni Racing transferred over to a Yamaha R1 for the 2005 season with an eye on challenging for the title this time. A slow start to the year prevented that from happening, but a decent end to the season, including two second place finishes at Brands Hatch and Lausitz, saved him to finish a respectable seventh for another season.
Despite a patchy second season in Superstocks, Scassa’s efforts were still rewarded with a deal to become the factory representative of historic MV Agusta team. Although the move was initially seen as a risk, despite the promise of manufacturer involvement, Scassa shone in his national championship on the way to a dominant title win.
Furthermore, Scassa took on more fancied competition in the Superstock 1000 Championship, scoring two wins at Brands Hatch and Imola on the way to a title showdown in the final race. Eventually, a retirement at Magny-Cours would leave him third in the overall standings.
Unusually, while Scassa’s career was in the ascendancy, he left Europe in 2007 after agreeing terms to follow MV Agusta in joining the US-based AMA Superbike Championship. Competing as their factory representative, Scassa struggled to adapt to a series of new circuits, while the F4 1000 wasn’t as competitive as its rivals.
A best result of seventh came at Virginia International Raceway, with Scassa eventually finishing 14th in the standings. Still, despite a trying season, Scassa did get the honour of being named Superbike Rookie of the Year, while MV Agusta were satisfied enough with his form to compete with Scassa again in the 2008 Italian CIV Superbike Championship.
It turned out to be a shrewd move, Scassa proving comfortable on more familiar territory to sweep to the title, giving the MV Agusta team a famous victory on home soil. Although it was the intention to race the bike in selected World Superbike rounds too, Scassa only made a single appearance at the end of the season at Portimao, albeit with the DFX Corse Honda team.
One of many riders the team took on for a single race weekend, Scassa struggled to adapt quickly, managing a best result of just 27th.
Nonetheless, Scassa’s CIV Superbike triumph made him the ideal choice for Italian WSBK stalwarts Team Pedercini, who signed him to front their campaign alongside the relatively inexperienced David Salom.
Returning to Kawasaki machinery for the first time since 2004, Scassa initially had a tough time getting to grips with the ZX-10R, finding himself on the cusp of the top twenty during free practice and qualifying, before finally reaching the points at Assen.
In all, Scassa was a point scorer on six occasions, but while he was no higher than 13th at any time, he was a more regular mid-field contender as the season drew to a close, while he often threw in the odd surprise performance around familiar circuits.
Ending the season 29th, although it wasn’t enough for Pedercini to retain Scassa, he nonetheless landed at mysterious new outfit Supersonic Racing aboard a Ducati 1198 for 2010.
Though little-known before the season, both the rider and the privateer Italian team made solid progress throughout the year, Scassa proving competitive amongst the Ducati contingent.
Scoring a maiden top ten finish at Monza, Scassa delighted the team further at Imola when he qualified on the front row. Though he would settle for a mere best finish of seventh, Scassa had certainly proved himself as deserving a place on the world stage in 2010.
As such, there was more than an air of surprise when it was announced he would be stepping down to the World Supersport Championship in 2011, Scassa signing with the BE1 Triumph team. Justifying his decision as a chance to get in with a works team, rumour has it Scassa is making longer-term plans to return in 2012 with the British manufacturer...Career Highlights:2010:
World Superbike Championship, Supersonic Ducati, 16th2009:
World Superbike Championship, Pedercini Kawasaki, 29th2008:
Italian Superbike Championship, Gimotorsports MV Agusta, Champion2007:
AMA Superbike Championship, Ferrachi MV Agusta, 14th2006:
FIM Superstock 1000 Championship, Ormeni Racing MV Agusta, 3rd (2 wins)
Italian Superstock 1000 Championship, Ormeni Racing MV Agusta, Champion2005:
FIM Superstock 1000 Championship, Ormeni Racing, Yamaha, 7th2004:
FIM Superstock 1000 Championship, Ormeni Racing, Kawasaki, 7th2003:
Italian Superstock 600, Kawasaki, Champion2002:
Italian Superstock 600, Kawasaki, 9th2001:
Aprilia 250GP Challenge 2000:
Aprilia 125GP Challenge