From lumberjack to WorldSBK’s biggest rising star, how did Axel Bassani do it?

Axel Bassani admits he would have been left working on a construction site with his father had he not been competitive in WorldSBK.
Axel Bassani, Ducati WorldSBK Portimao 2022
Axel Bassani, Ducati WorldSBK Portimao 2022

The Italian rider narrowly missed out on securing a factory Ducati WorldSBK seat alongside world champion Alvaro Bautista for 2023, despite out-performing Michael Ruben Rinaldi on several occasions.

Instead, Bassani will compete in his third consecutive campaign with the Motocorsa Ducati team, meaning he will attempt to defend his Independent Riders’ title. 

With the likes of Remy Gardner, Bradley Ray, Danilo Petrucci, Dominique Aegerter and Tom Sykes all joining WorldSBK for 2023, Bassani’s challenge is expected to be a much tougher one than in 2022.

Bassani will need to be even more competitive than he’s already shown, which is something that could have cost him his WorldSBK future had he not impressed immediately in 2021. 

Having previously worked as a bricklayer and lumberjack, Bassani was without many options had he failed to deliver in the Superbike class.

In fact, the young Italian would have returned to working with his dad. Speaking to, Bassani said: "I would have gone home to work on a construction site with my dad. 

"I didn’t have many alternatives and it might even happen again in the future if I’m not competitive. Among other things I was also a bricklayer in 2020, when there was Covid. 

"During the break from races I helped him make the mortar and cement. I remember that we also worked on Easter day. I also worked as a lumberjack beforehand. It’s not so bad to pick up a chainsaw," Bassani added.

After coming through various Supertsock and Supersport championships, Bassani joined WorldSBK with just one full season of WorldSSP racing under his belt. 

Bassani also competed in four Moto2 races in 2017, failing to finish inside the top 20 on any of those occasions. 

However, it became clear very early on that the Italian would have a future in WorldSBK after claiming his first podium as a rookie.

Axel Bassani , Superpole Race, Indonesian WorldSBK. 13 November
Axel Bassani , Superpole Race, Indonesian WorldSBK. 13 November

Bassani then followed that up with another three podiums in 2023, which is a good return considering how many times Bautista, Toprak Razgatlioglu and Jonathan Rea shared the top three positions.

Bassani rejects Yamaha WorldSBK move

At the end of last season Bassani was offered the chance to move from Ducati to Yamaha, however, the 23-year-old chose to remain with his current team due to the potential of the Panigale V4 R.

Bassani said: "I preferred to stay here at Ducati. I’m in a great team, with fantastic people by my side and the bike is top notch. You can see it too.”

Talking of the Panigale V4 R, Ducati have introduced a brand new V4 R for 2023 which replaces the previous 2019 model. 

"The Ducati V4 is a great bike with fantastic potential," continued Bassani. "I haven’t tried the new Panigale yet but I expect it to be smoother and less nervous of a bike in certain conditions."

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