Leandro Mercado joins IDM championship after WorldSBK exit

Leandro Mercado might have taken part in his final WorldSBK race after signing with Kawasaki in the German Superbike series.
Leandro Mercado, Honda WorldSBK 2022
Leandro Mercado, Honda WorldSBK 2022

An eight-year veteran in the WorldSBK class, Mercado’s latest stint at MIE Honda was a disaster as he failed to secure any meaningful results. 

The 2022 campaign saw Mercado claim just three points scoring finishes, all of which were 15th place results, which led to him finishing the championship in 29th place.

With a move away from MIE Honda on the cards for much of the season, the Argentine rider did have designs of remaining in the world championship before the final few seats went the way of Danilo Petrucci, Bradley Ray and Tom Sykes.

Mercado, who began his WorldSBK career with Kawasaki in 2014, has now officially made his return to the Japanese manufacturer after agreeing to join the German Superbike series.  

Now 30 years of age, a return to WorldSBK on a full-time basis appears unlikely for the former Ducati, Aprilia and Honda rider, although not impossible as riders such as Loris Baz and Sykes have completed such moves in the last two years.

With that said, Baz and Sykes have enjoyed considerably more successful careers than Mercado. 

"I'm happy to be part of this team and to be back in the IDM paddock, where I had a lot of fun last year," stated Mercado. "I am excited about the new task and the new competition. I will work hard to get good results."

"I already have some experience with a Kawasaki but from the Superbike World Championship; the rules in the IDM are a little different. To be fast, every element has to be in the right place. 

"You need a good overall package and, this is particularly important, everyone has to work together in one direction in order to achieve the goals.”

"There is still a lot to do before the first races start in May. We can build on the team from last year," said Mercado’s new team manager Emil Weber. "We will definitely do a test in Spain beforehand."

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