The Pirelli Aragón Round moves the MOTUL FIM Superbike World Championship onto European soil for the first time in 2016, with MotorLand Aragón once again staging the first of the 9 races for STK1000 this season.
Last year’s and reigning Champion Lorenzo Savadori has moved up to WorldSBK to partner Alex De Angelis at IodaRacing, and the throne vacated by the Italian has many aspirational heirs; both riders who are new to the category and those who count themselves as veterans of the Cup.
Amongst the first to mention are the rider who dominated last year’s STK600 Cup, Turkish rider Toprak Razgatlioglu, who will race under the umbrella of Kawasaki Puccetti Racing, and Savadori’s predecessor Leandro Mercado. Argentine rider Mercado returns to try and win back his crown aboard the Ducati of the Aruba.it Racing – Junior Team, alongside Italian debutant Michael Ruben Rinaldi, who was runner up in STK600 in 2015.
Many manufacturers all well-represented. Runner up in the category last year, Roberto Tamburini is aboard an Aprilia RSV4 RF this season with Nuova M2 Racing, replacing outgoing Savadori. His teammate is countryman Kevin Calia. Six riders will count on BMW S 1000 RR machines in 2016, including 2015 third-placed rider Raffaele De Rosa riding for Althea, and 10 riders will be on Yamaha YZF R1 machinery, including German rider Toni Finsterbusch (BCC-Racing Team) and Frenchman Florian Marino (PATA Yamaha Official Stock Team).
Marino’s compatriot Jeremy Guarnoni, who won the final race of the season in 2015 at Magny-Cours, remains on the grid and will be one of 15 riders on Kawasaki bikes this season, a list that includes other high profiles names such as Australian Bryan Staring.
A total of 39 riders from 12 different countries will line up on the grid this year, of which an incredible 21 are Italian. France, Switzerland and Germany each have 3 riders, the Netherlands 2, and seven more different countries from around the world make the grand total to nearly forty.
STK1000 action gets underway for the first time this year on Friday the 1st of April at MotorLand Aragon, and you can keep ahead of the curve on WorldSBK.com, on the Live Experience App, and by following @WorldSBK on Twitter.