2023 Yamaha WorldSBK line-up “the strongest we’ve fielded”, do you agree?

Andrea Dosoli believes the six-rider Yamaha WorldSBK line-up for 2023 is the strongest field of talent it’s had since 2016.
Toprak Razgatlioglu, Andrea Locatelli, Lorenzo Baldassarri, Dominique Aegerter, Remy Gardner, Yamaha
Toprak Razgatlioglu, Andrea Locatelli, Lorenzo Baldassarri, Dominique…

Toprak Razgatlioglu, Andrea Locatelli, Remy Gardner, Dominique Aegerter, Lorenzo Baldassarri and Bradley Ray are the six riders set to compete for Yamaha in WorldSBK this season, with five of them having won major championships previously. 

The most accomplished of them is Razgatlioglu after the Turkish star won the Superbike title in 2021, while Locatelli, Gardner and Aegerter have all won world championships in lower categories.

Baldassarri made the step up to Superbikes following an impressive rookie season in WorldSSP where he finished runner-up to Aegerter, while Ray is the reigning British Superbike champion.

A start-studded line-up, Yamaha could make the argument for having the most talented collective of riders on the grid, although Kawasaki remains the most successful if we include all the major championships won by its riders. 

While Yamaha has been a mainstay in the Superbike championship, they haven’t always been so as a factory team, which is why Dosoli claims the 2023 group of riders is their best since returning to the series as a full factory outfit in 2016.

All six riders are directly contracted to Yamaha which is also different to previous seasons.

Speaking about the current group of riders, Dosoli said: "For the first time, we will have six riders contracted directly by Yamaha representing our brand in the MOTUL FIM Superbike World Championship, four of them World Champions and one national champion. 

"It’s a strong rider line-up, the strongest we’ve fielded since returning to the championship in 2016, and our expectations are high going into the new season. 

"In Toprak and Andrea, we have two experienced championship campaigners, while Remy brings with him a wealth of experience from MotoGP. 

"Dominique, Lorenzo, and Bradley are all proof that our unique step-up program, where Yamaha riders who excel at both an international and national level, are given the opportunity to step up to WorldSBK."

Bradley Ray, Motoxracing Yamaha WorldSBK 2023
Bradley Ray, Motoxracing Yamaha WorldSBK 2023

With improvements to the R1 seemingly being made during pre-season - Razgatlioglu finished the two-day Jerez test fastest to highlight the potential that’s expected from the bike - Dosoli is adamant that the investment to bring in top level talent has been matched with the same level of dedication to improving the bikes that are available to them. 

Dosoli added: "The investment in our riders has also been matched by the investment in development, with the R1 improving in key areas, which was illustrated by the performance of all our riders at the recent Jerez test. 

"We are in a good position to fight once again for the World Championship title, but we know that we need to eliminate the mistakes that robbed us of important points last year and put together a perfect season. Thanks to our riders, and I wish them the best of luck for the coming campaign."

Like Yamaha, Ducati have also added talent, experience and success from the highest level of racing in former MotoGP rider Danilo Petrucci, while Kawasaki chose a similar route with the addition of 2013 WorldSBK champion Tom Sykes, after the British rider moved to the Puccetti Kawasaki team following a disappointing season in BSB. 

Both manufacturers have five riders on the grid compared to Yamaha’s six, while BMW and Honda have four riders each.

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