23 May 2023
Tuesday, May 23:  Aquabike Promotion has received a flurry of early entries for the opening round of the 2023 UIM-ABP Aquabike World Championship in Sardinia on June 16th-18th. 
Riders from 21 nations have so far registered and will compete in the season-opening Regione Sardegna Grand Prix of Italy in the sheltered waters off the coast of the city of Olbia. 
Seventeen riders will provisionally line up in the Runabout GP1 category. Marcus Jorgensen returns to defend his world title against the likes of last year’s runner-up François Medori and third-placed Jeremy Perez. Sweden is represented by Samuel and Johan Johansson, there are two Italian entries for Alessandro Mariani and Lorenzo Benaglia and single bikes from Denmark, Kuwait, USA, Poland, Portugal, Spain, Slovakia and Germany. Kuwait’s former World Champion has also returned to try and win back his world title. 
Three Italians, a French rider and a Pole grace the entry for Runabout GP2 in Olbia. Pierpaolo Terreo, Alessandro Fracasso and Manuel Reggiani line up against Guillaume Hemain and Marcin Senda.
Ten racers from six nations will battle it for Runabout GP4 honours in the absence of last year’s World Champion Mattias Siimann. Estonia will be represented by Henry Kiisa and Marek Laanisto on this occasion and they line up against the likes of Davide Pontecorvo and Davide Santini, Peter Dryjak, Tihomir Kotarski and Killian Miano.
Seven female racers have entered the Runabout GP4 Ladies category with Italy’s Naomi Benini returning to defend her title. Last year’s podium finishers, Clara Muchembled and Nikola Dryjakova, are back to challenge for the title. Germany’s Michelle Dimov, the Italian duo of Vittoria de Oliveira and Ilaria Vanni and French girl Cyrielle Bramm round off the list. 
Ski Division GP1 is the most popular section on the opening race in Sardinia and 19 riders from 10 nations grace the entry. Last season’s all-conquering French trio of Valentin Dardillat, Axel Courtois and Morgan Poret head a field that also includes Croatia’s Slaven Ivancic, Denmark’s Mads and Oliver Koch Hansen, Belgium’s Anthony Beernaut and Spain’s Nacho Armillas. 
Gonçalo Oliveira Rodrigues is the defending Ski Division GP2 world champion and the Portuguese returns to kick-start the defence of his title against three Italians and fellow countryman Matteo Valente. Paolo Petronelli, Guiseppe Casarola and Matteo Benini represent Italy. 
The Portuguese duo of Diogo and Andre Barbosa, Frenchman Alexandre Bourgeois and Australia’s Jayden Richardson have entered the Ski Division GP3 category that was won by Mattias Reinass in 2022. Last year’s runner-up Lino Brusadin will go head-to-head with fellow Italian Davide Pontecorvo for Ski Division GP4 honours. 
Estonia’s Jasmiin Ypraus returns to defend her Ski Ladies GP1 title against a formidable field of 10 rivals that includes last year’s French runner-up Jessica Chavanne, third-placed Swede Jonna Borgström and French girl Virginie Moraes. Sweden’s talented Emma-Nellie Ortendahl also graces the list alongside Norway’s Benedicte Drange, Sweden’s Sofie Borgström and Janina Johansson, Monaco’s Lisa Caussin Battaglia and Portugal’s Jonana Graca.
Multiple World Champion Rashid Al-Mulla of Team Abu Dhabi tops a five-man Freestyle field. Last year, the Emirati amassed a perfect 100 points from four maximum 25-point Moto scores. In Sardinia, he will face world number one Roberto Mariani, his fellow Italian Massimo Accumolo, Portugal’s Paulo Nuñes and Morocco’s Yassine Fadli. 
After registration and technical scrutineering on Thursday, June 15th, competitors will be able to take part in free practice and pole position heats on Friday, June 16th followed by the first of the Motos for Ski Division GP3 and GP4 contenders in the late afternoon. 
Two Motos will take centre stage on Saturday (June 17th) with the Runabout GP1 racers carrying out free practice and just one heat. Racing concludes on Sunday (June 18th) with free practice, a third Moto for eight of the race categories and a second heat for Runabout GP1 and Freestyle entrants.