Andrea Iannone a contender to join WorldSBK, Ducati most likely option?

After taking part in a private test aboard a Ducati Panigale V4 alongside MotoGP test rider Michele Pirro, could Andrea Iannone be setting himself up for a move to WorldSBK? If so what are the most likely landing spots?
Andrea Iannone, Mugello MotoGP 2021
Andrea Iannone, Mugello MotoGP 2021

Iannone, who was found guilty of breaking an anti-doping rule in 2020 when competing for Aprilia Racing in MotoGP, has continued his on-track training leading to rumours of a racing return.

Formerly of the factory Ducati and Suzuki teams in MotoGP, Iannone can’t return to professional racing until the 2024 season, however, opportunities are expected to be there for the controversial Italian. 

Iannone’s MotoGP career is all-but over, but WorldSBK could remain an option as Ducati looks to be his best chance of returning to world championship racing.

All five of Ducati's Superbike riders which includes current world champion Alvaro Bautista - winner of five races in six to start his 2023 title defence - are on contracts that are scheduled to end after this season, and while Iannone does not have the best reputation, there’s no denying the talent he’s shown throughout his career.

Iannone’s latest on-track test was again alongside Pirro, after the two spent time on-track at Misano before joining forces for a test day at Vallelunga.

On both occasions Iannone lapped on an Aprilia RSV4 machine, however, their latest track day at Misano saw the Italian join Pirro aboard a Panigale V4. 

Nothing more than fun at this stage, Iannone told "I’m happy just doing a few laps. In the end it’s a very simple training [session]." 

When asked if he has designs on racing with Ducati, Iannone remained tight-lipped: "Today is just a day of fun with friends, that’s all."

Potential options for Iannone in WorldSBK

Starting with Ducati, Barni Spark Racing, Motorcorsa and GoEleven could all be options with Danilo Petrucci, Axel Bassani and Philipp Oettl all on contracts that end after the current season.

All three riders have already had impressive performances through the opening two rounds, especially Petrucci as the former MotoGP rider is a rookie in the Superbike class.

However, it remains to be seen whether there is change at the factory team next season, and if so a rider out of this list could be promoted. 

That would open the door for Iannone to land a ride with Ducati should the Italian manufacturer be willing to take the risk. 

The Barni Spark Racing seat could be the most likely as Petrucci could have other options, both in WorldSBK and another series if he wished to take on a new challenge. 

Yamaha and Kawasaki could be outside bets for Iannone, with teams such as Puccetti or Motoxracing potentially being landing spots.

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