While it’s just an opinion, rating any previous rookie WorldSBK line-up ahead of the current list of rookies appears to be a monumental task.

There will be six rookies taking part at next month’s season-opener at Phillip Island, five of which have either won world titles or taken victories in some of the most competitive championships in the world.

Danilo Petrucci

Starting with the biggest name on this list, Petrucci has joined WorldSBK with Ducati after finishing runner-up in his debut MotoAmerica season to Jake Gagne.

A two-time MotoGP race winner and Dakar Rally stage winner, Petrucci brings with him more racing experience than most of the grid.

Xavi Fores showed that the Barni Spark Ducati machine can achieve good results in 2022, so Petrucci should be able to take that team further up the grid.

The Italian will have a brand new Panigale V4 R at his disposal after Ducati introduced its latest model as a replacement for the 2019 bike.

Fighting for top tens immediately has to be the aim for Petrucci before turning that into top fives and potential podiums.

Expect Petrucci to become a leading contender for best Independent Rider of the year honours, whilst also pushing the likes of Michael Ruben Rinaldi and Axel Bassani, who will be on similar machinery. 

Remy Gardner

Another interesting and big name addition to WorldSBK, Gardner arrives after a disappointing rookie season in MotoGP.

But despite being dropped by Tech 3 KTM despite bringing them the Moto2 title just a few months prior, Gardner has joined one of the better teams on the grid in GRT Yamaha.

As we’ve seen from Garrett Gerloff in recent seasons, the satellite Yamaha team has everything at its disposal to challenge for race wins, and although that might be a stretch too far for Gardner as a rookie, the Australian should be much more competitive in WorldSBK than he was in MotoGP. 

Similar to Petrucci, Gardner is a rider that will be expected to challenge for big results and the Independent Riders’ title.

Dominique Aegerter

The back-to-back WorldSSP champion will line-up alongside Gardner in an all-rookie team at GRT Yamaha.

After winning consecutive Supersport titles for the first time since Kenan Sofuoglu, Aegerter moves to the premier class with lofty expectations placed on his shoulders.

While Gardner is a big name addition, Aegerter’s recent run of form since 2021 is likely to provide a serious challenge for Gardner and all the satellite team riders.

Bradley Ray

After difficult BSB campaigns with Suzuki and BMW in recent time, Ray and the Rich Energy OMG Racing Yamaha were a match made in heaven last year.

Ray was dominant throughout the year and ended up winning his maiden BSB title with a race to go. 

The British rider will ride for Motoxracing Yamaha in WorldSBK, a team that enjoyed some positive results with Roberto Tamburini.

And while the Italian did a solid job for the team, Ray’s talent should see him bring the team forward, similar to Petrucci at Barni Ducati.

Points finishes as he learns the differences between a WorldSBK and British Superbike will still be expected for Ray, before consistent top tens would likely culminate in a successful campaign. 

Lorenzo Baldassarri

The former Moto2 rider was a surprise championship contender to Aegerter last year, and although the Swiss rider enjoyed a much larger amount of success with regards to race wins, Baldassarri was an ever-present challenge to Aegerter.

Like Gardner, Aegerter and Ray, Baldassarri is also stepping up to WorldSBK with Yamaha and could be a dark horse to upset the likes of both GRT riders and Ray when it comes to top Yamaha rookie.

After being linked with a MotoGP seat a few seasons ago, Baldassarri was back to his best on Supersport machinery following a difficult couple of years in Moto2. If the Italian can again show a strong level of performance and mix it with the top ten riders then he could become a contender for a factory seat.