Hector Barbera will switch to the World Supersport championship for the remainder of the 2018 campaign with Puccetti Kawasaki as recently retired Kenan Sofuoglu’s permanent replacement.

After the five-time World Supersport champion made the call to retire following a number of serious injuries, Sheridan Morais has acted as stand-in rider at the Italian squad during this season with his temporary deal concluding after the Misano round.

As a result former MotoGP rider Barbera will make his World Supersport debut with a four-round deal at Puccetti Kawasaki to see out the remainder of the 2018 season. Barbera was sacked from the Pons HP40 Moto2 squad earlier this year following a drink driving charge.

“I am really motivated and eager to get out on track again and I am lucky to be able to count on the Kawasaki Puccetti Racing team,” Barbera said. “I was able to visit their headquarters and I saw with my eyes how the team is well organised and I know they are a winning team.

“Manuel is giving me a huge opportunity and I would like to pay him back with good results. I want to win and I am training hard for this. I am happy. Both the team and I are in the same condition. We are really experienced and we have all the potential to do well.

“Our agreement with Sheridan Morais was only scheduled to last until the Rimini Round and we are all very grateful for his help,” Manuel Puccetti, team boss, said. “I searched for a replacement rider and was delighted that Hector Barbera was available and interested in joining the team. It is an honour for me to have such an experienced rider in the team.

“Hector comes from a higher level after riding for 15 consecutive seasons in the FIM Road Racing World Championship; eight of them in the MotoGP class. I believe the team will work hard to give him all he needs to make good results in his new adventure in WorldSSP.

“It will not be easy since he will have to begin his experience on board the Kawasaki Ninja ZX-6R on three new race tracks for him - Portimao, Magny Cours and El Villicum - but I am sure he has all the potential to do well. If the results match our expectation we would really like to confirm him also for the next season.”

Barbera will compete alongside team-mate Hikari Okubo starting at the Portimao round on September 14-16.