Six of the seven factory backed teams that will take part in next year's World Superbike Championship will descend on Kyalami this week as the countdown to an exciting new season gets underway.

Although the outing has been geared towards helping Pirelli develop the latest evolution of their tyres this will be the first time Ducati, Honda, Suzuki and Yamaha will be joined on track by newcomers BMW and Aprilia.

Most notably, the test will signal the first outing for Noriyuki Haga on the Xerox Ducati that has been vacated by retiring champion Troy Bayliss. The Japanese rider, who will go into 2009 as one of the big favourites, will be joined by new team-mate Michel Fabrizio in South Africa.

Meanwhile, Ten Kate Honda will be out on track for the first time since the final round of the WSBK season in Portugal last month with their revised line-up of Carlos Checa, Ryuichi Kiyonari and Jonathan Rea, while Yamaha Italia will give more track time to their rookie pairing of Ben Spies and Tom Sykes.

Interestingly, Alstare Suzuki will persevere with the two riders they went testing with in Australia, with Yukio Kagayama and Max Neukirchner back on the bike, rather than Fonsi Nieto.

Elsewhere, several eyes will be on how BMW to see how they fare in their first group test, while Aprilia will arrive in South Africa with a full strength line-up of Max Biaggi and Shinya Nakano after both riders enjoyed separate tests as Portimao and Valencia in recent weeks.

The one remaining factory team, Kawasaki, will not be present as they continue their transition from PSG-1 Corse to Paul Bird Motorsport. They are set to test in Spain next month though, before the first official group test of 2009.

The test will run for three days.



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