Few ‘Independent’ riders in the recent years of WorldSBK racing have made such an instant impact when arriving in the most prestigious production-derived world championship class than the tousle-haired new KRT rider, Axel Bassani.
His rookie performances inside a new and entirely privateer Ducati team in 2021 started off steadily but a high water mark of second place at the first race of the Catalunya round proved that Bassani was as good a young prospect as any, especially so in a championship which had so many good riders and official machines in its line-up.
Bassani’s career has taken in many and various categories at both national and then international level. His early performances in the CIV (Italian) Pre-GP class saw him finish runner-up in both 2012 and 2013.
In only two races of the 2015 Superstock 600 season, which used to run inside the WorldSBK paddock in general, Axel scored one podium finish and ended up 15th overall for the Berclaz Racing Kawasaki team.
Over not quite a full season in the 2016 WorldSSP championship, while riding for Team Italia on a Kawasaki Ninja ZX-6R, Axel was 12th overall. He won the championship-within-championship FIM Supersport European Cup, for riders who did not compete in the ‘flyaway’ rounds.
Still on a Kawasaki in WorldSSP for the 2017 season, Axel continued his relationship with the Kawasaki Puccetti Racing set-up although he only took part in two races. He also had two rides inside the MotoGP paddock, on a Moto2 machine, scoring points while still a teenager.
Two subsequent season of Italian Superbike racing saw him finish fifth and then eighth in the biggest CIV national class of all. He moved back into global competition in 2020, riding in WorldSSP, finishing 17th overall. He recorded a strong fourth place in one race but nothing could hint at how well Axel would adapt to the performance of a full-on WorldSBK machine in his rookie season of 2021.
Axel, running a Ducati inside the Motocorsa team, would score that famous second place in Catalunya in 2021, utilising the wet conditions to their fullest. That first WorldSBK year he would finish inside the top tenth overall, in ninth place.
Three 2022 season podiums helped Axel finish seventh overall, and become top WorldSBK Independent Rider for the first time.
Fearing no reputation of his rivals on official machines, Bassani went on to finish sixth in the championship last year, only losing out on fifth place - by two points - after the very last race of the season at Jerez. Axel nonetheless impressed everyone yet again, and took the well-deserved Independent Riders’ trophy for the second year in succession.
In 2024 Bassani has already achieved one ambition by joining a direct factory team to begin the next upward learning curve of his career at the best possible pace inside the KRT squad.
At 24 years of age Bassani still has a long racing future ahead of him. So far, all of his 109 WorldSBK race starts (with three races per weekend helping to accelerate his figures, of course) have been made as a ‘privateer.’
Axel’s first aim is to get to know the Ninja ZX-10RR as much as he can before making the next step towards adding to his career total of six WorldSBK podiums.