Ducati test rider Michele Pirro will swap MotoGP for the World Superbike Championship later this month after being confirmed in an expanded Barni Racing Team line-up for Misano.

A MotoGP regular during the Italian rounds of the premier class aboard the factory Desmosedici, Pirro’s more frequent ‘weekend work’ also sees him competing in the CIV Italian Superbike series, where he currently dominates for the Barni Racing Team.

He’ll get the chance to ride the Ducati Panigale V4 R at Misano with a WorldSBK wild-card alongside the team’s regular rider Michael Ruben Rinaldi.

It is the first time Barni – which stepped up to WorldSBK in 2015 – has ever run two bikes on the same weekend and comes as the team evaluates doing so full-time in 2020.

“After many years full of success in CIV, I am very happy with the opportunity that Barni Racing Team was able to create, allowing me to be on track in a very competitive and prestigious Championship as WorldSBK is,” said Pirro, who has previously started eight WorldSBK races during wild-card outings in 2013 and 2015.

"Barni" [Marco Barnabo, team principal] did everything he could to make this adventure possible, I would like to thank him and all those who believed in this project: sponsors and Ducati who gave me the chance to race.

“The Ducati Panigale V4 R has proven to have great potential and I will try to give my contribution to improve the bike, giving the maximum both on the track and in the work with mechanics. It will be not an easy race because the level of riders is very high, but my goal is to get the best possible result.”

A former World Supersport racer, Pirro progressed to MotoGP in 2012 with Gresini Racing’s burgeoning CRT project aboard an FTR chassis, scoring a best finish of fifth – which also proved to be the best result for a ‘second tier’ bike during the inaugural season of CRT racing.

Though he hasn’t competed in a full MotoGP season since then, Pirro has nonetheless racked up 52 MotoGP starts since joining Ducati in 2013 as its test rider, which has included several wild-cards at Mugello and Misano, plus injury stand-ins.

Most recently finishing seventh at last weekend’s 2019 Italian MotoGP at Mugello, Pirro scored a best MotoGP result of fourth at Valencia in 2018.