Oliver Konig is expected to become the latest addition to the 2022 WorldSBK grid with Orelac Racing VerdNatura Kawasaki. 

The 19 year-old Czech is set to replace Isaac Vinales after the Spaniard’s one and only season with the team. 

Should Konig sign with Orelac Kawasaki then it will see him become the only teenager in the class. Luca Bernardi is currently the youngest rider on the grid at 20 years of age.  

Initially there was talk that Vinales could retain his seat, while 2013 world champion Tom Sykes is not out of the running for a 2022 seat either. 

But after being linked to both the Orelac and Pedercini seats, it’s likely that Konig will sign with the former, meaning Sykes could join Loris Cresson at Pedercini should he decide to remain in the world championship. 

Konig, who has spent the last three years in WorldSSP300 made his WorldSBK debut with the above-mentioned Pedercini Kawasaki during the 2021 season finale in Mandalika. Konig failed to finish race one before missing out on race two altogether. 

Konig will become the fifth Czech rider to compete in the WorldSBK championship on a full-time basis, while also becoming the first since Ondrej Jezek in 2018. 

Kawasaki are just one of two manufacturers that have yet to confirm their full list of riders - Yamaha are the other although Christophe Ponsson is expected to remain at Gil Motor Sport Yamaha. 

The 2022 WorldSBK season is set to begin in Aragon on April 8-10, with Assen and Estoril to follow. Unlike 2021 there are no first-time circuits on the calendar, however, we could see a return to Phillip Island which is currently TBD (to be determined).