Gabriele Ruiu will make his World Superbike debut next season after signing a deal with Grillini Suzuki but won’t be able to race for the team until he turns 18 next May.

Italian Ruiu rose through the ranks after impressing in the CEV Moto2 series in 2016 before making a handful of European Superstock 1000 starts with a best finish of 17th at the season finale in Jerez.

Due to age restrictions in the World Superbike championship, Ruiu won’t be able to race until he turns 18 which means the Italian will miss the opening five rounds of the season with Grillini expected to announce a replacement rider for those rounds before the teenager takes over.

Ruiu is thrilled with the ‘trust’ shown by Team Grillini and is eager to get up to speed ahead of his rookie World Superbike campaign.

“I want to thank Team Manager Andrea Grillini for putting his trust in my talent,” Ruiu said. “It is a great opportunity and an important responsibility to join WorldSBK, so I have to prepare the season with the utmost commitment and determination to give my best."

Team boss Andrea Grillini says Ruiu’s experience with the Suzuki GSX-R1000 in Superstock 100 and Superbike specification placed him in good stead at the team with Ruiu set to join alongside the already-announced Roberto Rolfo.

“I met Gabriele not long time ago,” Grillini said. “Gabriele has already raced with a GSX-R1000 Suzuki in Stock 1000 and in SBK in the Italian Championship with good results, and this will help him to gain confidence with our bike.

“Rules do not allow him to take start the championship immediately because of his age, but he will train and follow the team during the first five races to debut on the Donington track.”