Cheshire Mouldings FS-3 Racing Kawasaki confirm Max Cook to BSB for 2023

Darren Fry and Nigel Snook of FS-3 have doubled down on their commitment to bring on the youth of our sport with the announcement that Max Cook, the 2022 winning Junior Superstock Champion will ride for the team in British Superbikes in 2023.

Max Cook – Cheshire Mouldings FS-3 Kawasaki

The latest news from within the successful 2022 Motorcycle Live event saw the announcement of Max Cook and FS-3 Kawasaki.

The 2022 season was a dominant one for Cook. 9 wins saw him go on to wrap up the Superstock 600 title and as reward for that hard work and dedication, he will line up next to FS-3 Kawasaki stalwart, Lee Jackson on the grid next season in a move that echos the signing of Rory Skinner in 2020. A move which saw him learn, develop and ultimately move on to the Moto2 category from under the wings of FS-3 racing team.

Team owners and operators Darren Fry and Nigel Snook have made no secrets of their desire to run a team that prioritises winning the British Superbike Championship, but at the same time has an eye on bringing through the talent of tomorrow!

Max Cook said: “This is a dream come true for me. Firstly, I would like to thank Nigel and Darren for supporting me for six years and now, to finally be their rider is so surreal! Nigel has supported me throughout my years at Red Bull Rookies Cup, Moto3 Junior World Championship and most recently, winning the Junior Superstock 600 championship, so he knows what I can do on a bike.

“Of course, this is a big step for me, but I feel like I am totally ready for the challenge and looking forward to showing people what I can do. To have Lee Jackson as my teammate is amazing. We all know he is very fast, and he is someone that I have always looked up to, so I can’t wait to soak up his knowledge. I have already had a taste for the superbike in early October, and I’m very excited to give it the beans in a proper run out in winter testing!”

Darren Fry said: “We’ve been supporting Max for six years and have been really impressed with his progress. He’s served his apprenticeship winning the BSB Moto 3 championship in 2017, then progressing through the British Talent Cup, Red Bull Rookies and the Junior World Championship. His talent really shone through this year as he dominated the Junior Superstock Championship and made a very impressive Supersport debut at the final round at Brands Hatch.

“As a team, we pride ourselves on actively supporting young talented riders, so the decision to promote Max to ride alongside Lee Jackson fitted perfectly with our philosophy. As a front-running BSB team, it’s easy to overlook a long-term development plan in return for instant results.

“We believe every team in the paddock has the responsibility to nurture young talent to keep British riders at the forefront of world racing and show everyone that the British Superbike Championship is the strongest domestic championship in the world.

“Just coming up to his 20th birthday, Max will certainly have his work cut out getting used to the raw power of a superbike, but we’ve got a full testing plan in place for him over the winter, and he’s very excited to get going. Based on his previous experience, we don’t think it will be too long before he surprises a few people.’’

Vickers Given a Golden Opportunity to Shine with OMG Racing Yamaha in British Superbikes

In a surprise twist to the British Superbike silly season, championship winning OMG Racing Yamaha have announced former Superstock 600 Champion, Ryan Vickers will be joining them for the 2023 and 2024 seasons in a 2-year deal.

Ryan Vickers – OMG Racing Yamaha

After a frustrating season aboard FHO’s BMW M1000RR Vickers has surprised Superbike fans by bagging what many believe to be one of the best and most sought-after rides on the grid. With newly crowned BSB Champion Bradley Ray rumoured to be stepping up to the World Superbike Series next year, Ryan Vickers, his personal team and OMG Racing have pounced on the opportunity to put themselves in the spotlight again and have some big boots to fill.

Riding alongside 2022 race winner and 6th place finisher overall Kyle Ryde, I’ve no doubt the pairing will be expected to perform from the get-go after the team have become accustomed to British Superbike success. Ryde more so than Vickers as there will be an adjustment period to be taken into account, hence the 2 year deal to allow Vickers to settle in a find his feet. You also have to bear in mind the calibre of riders he will be up against next year in British Superbikes. Staying on the bike and being inside the Top 10 has to be Vickers’ first priority in year 1. If he can regain the confidence he oozed in his days with the Lee Hardy Racing team, where Ryan was a regular runner inside the top 6 during races, success, podiums and potential race wins will come at some point.

Vickers has experience on Yamaha machinery from his championship winning season aboard an R6 in 2018 before debuting in Superbikes, though personally I’m unsure as to whether data and riding styles from a stock R6 can translate to a British Superbike spec R1 with instant results. Stranger things have happened. We have seen high calibre riders struggle on BMW machinery due to the integral characteristics of the bike whereas the R1 has long been seen as the friendliest bike to ride being it’s such an allrounder, it could just be that this is the move Vickers needs to settle things down, renew his confidence and start bringing some BSB trophies, if not in 2023 then definitely in 2024.

The one thing Vickers has been universally commended on, when life became tough in the FHO Racing BMW camp, his attitude towards the team, improving himself and the bike were never in doubt. On and off the bike his character has shone through.

Good luck to him I say. Kudos on his negotiating skills and well done that man for being brave enough to go even further down the rabbit hole to find himself and chase his dream. Vickers could easily have gone back to a series he has had success on (i.e. 600’s) but it takes a brave man to dig in and crack on for another year. Congratulations to both Ryan and OMG Racing for putting together what will hopefully be a belter of a lineup for 2023.

Ryan Vickers – OMG Racing Yamaha

On the move, Vickers said: “I’m so pleased to be given the opportunity to ride what I and many others perceive to be the best bike on the Bennetts British Superbike Championship grid, with a team have that have impressed a huge number of people by winning the championship.

“My love of Yamaha stems from my Superstock 600 Championship win onboard an R6, so I’m looking forward to gelling with the R1, and being able to deliver OMG Racing the level of success they’ve become used to.

“I can’t thank Alan [Gardner] and Paul [Curran] enough for their belief in my abilities, and I’ll be working harder than ever to give them the results the team deserve. I appreciate that to step into the boots of the Championship winner is a big ask, and Brad has set the bar high, but I relish the challenge and I’m excited for what I’m hoping will be my best season yet.”

Alan Gardner, OMG Racing Team Owner said: “Ryan is a rider that OMG Racing have had their eye on for quite a while and has really impressed with both his performance on-track, and his attitude off it.

“He’s a well-known and liked character within the paddock and has proven himself to be a rider that will go above and beyond to constantly improve and better his lap times and ability, and that fits perfectly with us and our goals moving forward.

“We plan on pulling no punches in our pursuit of our second championship victory in 2023, and with both Ryan and Kyle on board our Yamaha R1s, are feeling strong as we move into our sixth BSB season.”

Paul Curran, OMG Racing Team Principal commented: “I’m really looking forward to working with Ryan, and he’s a rider that I’ve admired for quite a while. His success on the R6 in the Superstock 600 Championship back in 2018 demonstrates his comfort on Yamahas, and from experience we know this normally translates well to the R1 – you only have to look at Brad [Ray]’s results and progression to see that.

“His drive and positivity will see him slot perfectly into the team, and I’m confident he’ll be at the sharp end of the grid from the off.

“We head out to Cartagena in a few short weeks, and we’re all looking forward to giving both Ryan and Kyle the opportunity to get some track time under their belts. I have no doubt that Ryan will get his head around the bike very quickly and we’re really looking forward to seeing what he can do.

Bradley Perie promoted to British Superbikes with Lee Hardy Racing

BSB Day at Motorcycle Live was a great time for Lee Hardy Racing to announce their plans for 2023, with the unveiling of Bradley Perie.

Bradley Perie and Lee Hardy – Lee Hardy Racing Kawasaki UK Image

A successful 2022 season in British Supersport 600 saw Appleyard Macadam Racing Yamaha’s, Perie take no less than 7 wins against a dominant Mar-Train Yamaha rider, Jack Kennedy. Kennedy went on the clinch the title by 9th round at Oulton Park then stepped up to complete the rest of the season in Superbikes to get a head start on 2023. Perie secured the runner up position in convincing style over nearest competitor and teammate, Harry Truelove.

Shoulda, Woulda, Coulda could be said for the 4 DNF’s in 2022 as without those, Brad would have been well on for the championship trophy and could have challenged Kennedy to the final flag, but as they say “if my Aunt had balls, she would be my Uncle” yada yada yada.

Clearly seeing the potential in the young Lancashire based rider, Lee Hardy Racing have signed Perie to step up to the series and make his debut under the teams push for a younger rider in a so called “youth movement”.

There seems to be a push from some of the BSB teams to start the process of finding the next wave of British Superbike stars. In 2022 Lee Hardy was partnered with Leon Haslam who runs the Affinity Sports Academy, which is dedicating itself to aiding the movement, training and bringing through of new talent. However, after what can only be described as a frustrating year for the team, a new plan of attack for 2023 has been laid and Perie is at the forefront of the team’s plans.

Bradley Perie – Yamaha Racing UK Image

It looks like the team has an option for 2024 too in their contract with Perie, but that is only hinted at in the statement below from Lee Hardy. Nothing has been confirmed as to the length of the contract, but no doubt will become clear in time.

Perie said: – “I’m grateful and excited to be making my debut Superbike season with the renowned Lee Hardy Racing team, onboard the proven Kawasaki ZX-10RR along with the Team Green family. It’s a dream come true so I can’t wait to get the ball rolling with the first test in 2023.”

Lee Hardy, Team Principal said: – “I’m very excited to announce our new signing Bradley and particularly keen to secure Bradley for not only 2023, but it’s also important to retain Bradley for a second season. This opportunity will give Bradley a stable situation to learn the Kawasaki ZX-10RR Superbike without the pressure of having to try to succeed in year one.

“Bradley is a complete rookie to the Superbike championship however he has shown me great potential and certainly is a rider that has caught my eye. It is so nice to revert back to the roots of Lee Hardy Racing and give young talent an opportunity to develop and hopefully succeed within BSB.

“There are many things you need to consider as a team owner when you are looking at a new venture, one thing that definitely helped me make my decision was the opening up of the Spanish testing again. This is a great opportunity for Bradley to throw his leg over the 2023 Kawasaki ZX-10RR and complete many laps in a relaxed environment, it’s not just about learning the bike, this will also give Bradley the chance to understand his new crew and get comfortable working with a new team.”

Ross Burridge, Head of Marketing & Racing Department at Kawasaki UK commented: – “Lee runs a great outfit that has not just lots of experience with the ZX-10RR machine but also with developing young talent, almost taking Jake Dixon to Championship glory in 2018.

“We have every faith that Bradley and the team will click from the off, and maximum effort will be put in from all sides to ensure a smooth and successful transition from Supersport to Superbike for Bradley. It’s important that teams start to give young up-and-coming riders a chance in Superbike, and with Lee doing just that, we are right behind him.”

Danny Kent joins LKR Racing for 2023

LKR Racing Honda will be a new addition to the 2023 British Superbike grid.

A partnership between Dorset based, Plant Machinery company, D & P Lovel Limited and Danny Kent will see them join the series and run their own team in the BSB paddock. The team will field the CBR1000RR-R SP Fireblade for their push on privateer ‘bragging rights’ and championship success in BSB while a Yamaha R6 beckons for younger brother, Keiron Kent on his debut in the Junior Superstock 600 category.

LKR Racing Honda – Official BSB Image

Danny Kent said: – “First of all I would like to say a big thank you to the whole Lovell family. I’m looking forward to the new project. D&P Lovell have been a personal sponsor of mine for a few years now and I know they don’t do anything halfhearted.

“I’m under no illusion that this isn’t going to be easy, but I believe we have the right people to do the job properly. I’m also excited to change manufacturer to Honda as it is a proven race-winning bike. I would like to say a massive thank you to everyone involved in LKR and I can’t wait to get started.”

Kieran Kent said: – “I am super excited to start my debut season in the Junior Superstock Championship next year. It’s definitely going to be a year of learning, but I am more than ready for the challenge ahead.

“I would like to take this opportunity to thank Allen and his family at D&P Lovell, my family and all my sponsors for believing in me and taking my career to the next step. I wouldn’t be in this position without them and I am very grateful. I can’t wait to get out testing on my Yamaha R6 early next year and get the season underway.”

Team Owner Allen Lovell concluded: – “D&P Lovell Ltd are thrilled to announce the launch of LKR, a newly formed Superbike and Junior Superstock team for 2023. Having been involved with motorcycles for over 30 years, providing vehicles and personal sponsorship for four years, we are well placed to support riders across the different classes. We wish our riders and sponsors a successful 2023.”

Keiron and Danny Kent – LKR Racing

British Superbike Structure Update for 2023

Bennetts British Superbike series unveil new points system and scrap the Showdown 8 positions.

Most fans would agree the biggest news coming out of “BSB Day” at Motorcycle Live was the shakeup to the championship for 2023. The Showdown element of the season is still present, albeit with a different context. The Showdown Finale has been added into the mix and podium credits are now a thing of the past. To clarify… It is not only 1st to 8th position that could win the championship.

The Traditional Top 8 Showdown is Cancelled.

Whoever scores the most points over the season, will lift the BSB title. The changes to the points hope to provide a closer season overall, with bigger gains available for success in the Showdown rounds. Effectively stopping someone going on a winning streak over the season and building a massive lead, aka Leon Camier 2009 on the Airwaves Yamaha 

A hat trick of victories in any particular round, would see a rider gain a minimum of 6 points over their rivals. Under the previous system, it would have been a minimum of 15 points advantage. The idea being when you get to the Showdown stages, the gaps are much closer than previous years but there doesn’t need to be any intervention from the series to manufacture a title battle down to the wire. Hopefully it pans out that way naturally. We have seen many a year where teams struggle at the start of the season only to dial the bike in at the Showdown point when they have unfortunately missed the cut.

As with any changes, we need to see how it will pan out and give the series credit where it’s due, they have clearly listened to the “Anti-Showdown” brigade. This is as close to a return to a traditional championship as we will see for now and I for one welcome the change. There will be no more shouts of “Don’t race the Showdown 8” or “Let them do a race on their own” as was seen after the fallout from Jason O’Halloran’s disastrous exit from Race 1 and 2 of Oulton Park during the showdown in 2022.

British Superbike Updated Points Structure

The main season is the same as previous years. From the 1st round at Silverstone, to the 8th round at Cadwell Park, the points system will be changed to: – 1st to 15th – 18-16-14-12-11-10-9-8-7-6-5-4-3-2-1 points.

The Showdown starts at Round 9, Oulton Park in September where the points system will change to: – 1st to 15th – 25-22-20-18-16-14-12-10-8-6-5-4-3-2-1 points

The Showdown Finale at Brands Hatch, for round 11 of the season: – 1st to 15th – 35-30-27-24-22-20-18-16-14-12-10-8-6-4-2 points.

Bennetts British Superbike Championship Series Director Stuart Higgs commented: “Following the announcement of our partnership renewal with Bennetts, we can also unveil our new Championship format for 2023.

“This represents only the third time in the series’ long history that we have adapted the Championship format, following consultation with teams and riders.

“The Showdown format from 2010-2022 has served the championship well and provided some historic and edge of the seat outcomes but we feel it’s right to evolve the format.

“The new format will recognise ‘season long performance’ and ideally create the opportunity for more teams and riders to remain in mathematical title contention and maintain the crescendo of competition that is seen many other sports disciplines.”

British Superbikes Calendar for 2023

 

Round 12 WorldSBK, Phillip Island, Race 2

It’s the last dance. Who would snatch victory in the last race of the season?

The earlier superpole race saw the new world champion, Alvaro Bautista (Aruba.it Ducati), take a gamble with slick tyres on a wet track that was drying out, a gamble which paid off. Bautista clinched the win, followed by Toprak Razgatlioglu (Pata Yamaha), and Jonathan Rea (Kawasaki KRT).

WorldSBK Philip Island, Australia, Round 12 20.11.2022. Picture courtesy of WorldSBK

Conditions for race 2 were dry, if not cold, with air temperature only about 15 degrees Celsius.

Lights out then for race 2, and it was Bautista with the hole shot into turn 1, followed by Rea and Redding (BMW Motorrad) who got a great start from 6th on the grid. Massive drama then for Gerloff (GRT Yamaha) and Vierge (Honda HRC), the Texan clipped the rear end of the former Moto2 rider into turn2, sending both of them careering off track. Both their seasons were now over. Meanwhile Rea was looking to make an early impact, and took over the lead into turn 3, diving under Bautista, Redding sensed an opportunity, and so to also passed Bautista.

Next lap and positions were: 1. Rea 2. Redding 3. Bautista 4. Toprak 5. Lowes (Kawasaki KRT) 6. Locatelli (Pata Yamaha) 7. Rinaldi (Aruba.it Ducati) 10. Laverty (Bonovo Action BMW) 11. Baz (Bonovo Action BMW). As he had been all weekend, Lowes was looking quick, and set the new fastest lap with a 1:30.991, going around the outside of Bautista in the process, and into 3rd.

With 18 laps remaining Bautista blasted past both Lowes and Redding down the straight and into turn 1 to take over 2nd. Toprak moved up to 3rd, with Lowes in 4th, and Redding bumped down to 5th.

Next lap, and Rea was riding defensively, as Bautista was looking to retake the lead, and was applying pressure. Locatelli was next to get through on Redding, and he moved into 5th, with Scott now in 6th. Meanwhile in the lead Rea held a gap of 0.2s.

Next lap and Bautista made his move on Rea, powering past the ZX-10RR down the straight and into the lead. Toprak was 3rd, Lowes 4th, Locatelli 5th, Redding 6th, and Rinaldi 7th. As was the story in race 1, the leading 4 were pulling away from the rest, and there was a sizeable gap now.

With 15 laps left to go, Bautista was looking to make it two wins out of three, and posted the new fastest lap with a 1:30.2. Lowes held a gap of 2.1s to Locatelli behind in 5th.

With 12 laps remaining, Rea wasn’t giving up and was pressing Bautista, and looking for the pass. Toprak in 3rd, was starting to lose contact with the two ahead of him, as the pace was ramped up. Lowes was still in 4th, and looked to be managing his tyres better than Toprak.

Just over half race distance, and Bautista looked to be suffering from rear tyre grip issues, with the back of his Panagale sliding out into most corners. By contrast Rea looked to be managing his tyres perfectly, and the Kawasaki looked to have the better drive out of corners. The gap between them was 0.4s.

Meanwhile further back, it was Redding 6th, Rinaldi 7th, Bassani (Motocorsa Ducati) 9th, Vd Mark (BMW Motorrad) 12th, and Laverty 13th.

With 8 laps left, Lowes got the better drive out of turn 12 and down the straight to come through on Toprak, and take over 3rd. The gap to his team mate in 2nd was 1.7s. Meanwhile Rea had cut the gap to Bautista to 0.2s and was looking to make the pass.

With 6 laps to go, Lowes had lost time and the gap to Rea was now 2.7s. Toprak was in 4th, Locatelli 5th, and Redding 6th.

Then with 5 laps remaining, huge drama as the race is red flagged due to a crash between Laverty and Xavi Fores into turn 1. Both riders were conscious, but it was a high speed crash, and precautions were rightly taken. As 2/3 of the race distance had been covered, the positions at the end of the previous lap were taken as final. That meant Bautista won the final race of the season, to cap off an already impressive season.

WorldSBK Philip Island, Australia, Round 12 20.11.2022. Picture courtesy of WorldSBK

Results top 5:

  1. Bautista (Aruba.it Ducati)
  2. Rea (Kawasaki KRT)
  3. Lowes (Kawasaki KRT)
  4. Razgatlioglu (Pata Yamaha)
  5. Locatelli (Pata Yamaha)

Final championship top 3:

  1. Bautista – 601 pts
  2. Razgatlioglu – 529
  3. Rea – 502

 

See you next season race fans!!!

 

Round 12 WorldSBK, Phillip Island, Race 1

Season finale here in the land down under. With Alvaro Bautista (Aruba.it Ducati) already crowned world champion, it would fall to the others to fight it out for the last 3 races of the season.

WorldSBK Philip Island, Australia 19.11.2022 Picture courtesy of Kawasaki Racing Team

Superpole saw Bautista claim pole with an unbeaten time of 1:29.813, followed by the Kawasaki KRT team mates of Jonathan Rea and Alex Lowes in 2nd and 3rd respectively.

Conditions were mixed for race 1, with the track still wet from earlier rainfall, most of the riders went for full wet tyres.

Lights out then for race 1, and it was Bautista with the hole shot into turn 1, followed by Rea and Toprak (Pata Yamaha). Lowes ran wide and was able to rejoin in 4th, Locatelli (Pata Yamaha) was 5th.

Next lap of the 22 lap race, and positions were: 1. Bautista 2. Toprak 3. Rea 4. Lowes 5. Bassani (Motocorsa Duacti) 6. Locatelli 7. Gerloff (GRT Yamaha) 8. Vierge (Honda HRC). Bassani had a sensational start after only qualifying down in 14th, he was now up to 5th and looked quick.

With 20 laps to go, Rea made a move on Toprak blasting past the R1 down the straight and into turn 1 to take 2nd, and then cut up the inside of Bautista a few corners later to take the lead. Rea looked like he had good pace, even in the tricky conditions, as the track was starting to dry out. He held a gap of 0.6s to Bautista in 2nd.

Next lap and Rea put in the new fastest lap with a 1:43.070. Toprak then came through on Bautista to take 2nd, next was Lowes to relegate the new world champion down to 4th in a few corners. Both the Kawasakis were looking quick, and looked to have their set up dialled in. The leading four riders were now clearing away from the others.

With 17 laps to go, it was the turn of the former champion Toprak to put in the new fastest lap with a 1:43.014, and then made his move on Rea on take over the lead. Positions were as follows: 1. Toprak 2. Rea 3. Lowes 4. Bautista 5. Bassani 6. Locatelli. Lap times continued to drop with Lowes next to set the new fastest lap with a 1:42.8. The English rider then came through on Toprak into Doohans corner to make it a Kawasaki 1, 2.

With 15 laps to go, Lowes then took the lead down the straight, flying past his team mate to take the lead. Lowes was looking quick and was out to take his 1st win of the season. Meanwhile further back it was Gerloff 8th and Loris Baz (Bonovo Action BMW) 10th. At the front end, Toprak ran out wide, and allowed Bautista to come through into 3rd.

With the track fairly well mostly dry now, several riders decided to come into the pits to change for slick tyres. These included Rea, Toprak and Bautista. Lowes decided to press on with his wet tyres, so to did Scott Redding (BMW Motorrad) and rookie Kyle Smith (Pedercini Kawasaki).

Half race distance now, and Lowes, currently in the lead after the others had pitted, was struggling with grip as his wet tyres were tearing up. Behind him then was Redding and Kyle Smith in 2nd, and 3rd respectively, Rea 5th, Toprak 6th, Bautista 7th, Locatelli 8th, and Bassani 9th. Lowes then decided to pull into the pits for a tyre change.

Next lap and Rea who had brand new slicks on was looking quick, and moved into 4th, setting the new fastest lap with a 1:33.311 in the process. Redding was still in the lead, but setting lap times around 8s slower then Rea, and would no doubt get caught.

With 9 laps to go Rea continued to slash the lead of Redding at the front, and set the new fastest lap with a 1:32.7. Meanwhile Toprak was in 4th and had a gap of 5.8s to Rea. Redding then decided to pull into the pits for a tyre change, which meant that rookie Kyle Smith, the Huddersfield local lad, lead his first WorldSBK race.

With 8 laps to go, Rea had now caught Smith, passed him, and immediately pulled away. Rea was looking good for his first win after a long win less drought of 24 races. Positions were as follows: 1. Rea 2. Smith 3. Toprak 4. Bautista 5. Locatelli 6. Lowes 7. Bassani. Toprak then blasted past Smith down the straight like he was riding a 250cc bike, moving into 2nd, and setting the new fastest lap with a 1:32.3. Lowes then moved into 5th after getting through on Locatelli.

With 6 laps left to go, Rea was showing no signs of slowing down, and set the new fastest lap with a 1:32.203, and held a gap of 5.7s to Torpak. The Turk had a gap of 8.3s to Bautista in 3rd. Lowes then pulled off an audacious pass on Bautista, taking him around the outside of Lukey Heights to move into 3rd. Lap times continued to drop, and Toprak was next to set the new one with a 1:32.005.

Next lap and it was Locatelli to take Bautista and move into 4th. Bautista was in 5th, and held a sizeable gap of 12s to Bassani in 6th.

With only 3 laps left positions were: 1. Rea 2. Toprak 3. Lowes 4. Locatelli 5. Bautista 6. Gerloff 7. Bassani 8. Vierge 9. Smith 10. Baz.

With 2 laps left it was Lowes with the new fastest lap, a 1:31.8. Drama for Vd Mark (BMW Motorrad) who had a big crash into turn 4, lost the front of his BMW and sent it catapulting into the gravel. The bike completely totalled, and his race was over.

Last lap and Rea broke his win less streak. Toprak 2nd, Lowes 3rd, Locatelli 4th, Bautista 5th, Gerloff 6th, Bassani 7th, Vierge 8th, Baz 9th. Smith 12th.

WorldSBK Philip Island, Australia 19.11.2022 Picture courtesy of WorldSBK

That 5th place finish for Bautista, also meant Ducati won the manufacturers championship, their first in 11 years.

Results top 5:

  1. Rea (Kawasaki KRT)
  2. Razgatlioglu (Pata Yamaha)
  3. Lowes (Kawasaki KRT)
  4. Locatelli (Pata Yamaha)
  5. Bautista (Aruba.it Ducati)

Championship top 3:

  1. Bautista – 564 pts
  2. Razgatlioglu – 507
  3. Rea – 475

 

McAMS Yamaha will give O’Halloran “everything he needs” to become British Superbike Champion for 2023..

McAMS Yamaha has today announced the re-signing of Jason O’Halloran for a renewed attack on the British Superbike Championship for 2023.

Jason O’Halloran – Image McAMS Yamaha

O’Halloran has been with the McAMS team since 2019 after switching from Honda machinery. In his successful tenure with the Japanese brand, he has scored 47 podiums aboard the R1. He finished runner up to Josh Brookes in 2020 in a close battle for the British Superbike Championship. Sadly, his recent campaigns of 2021 and 2022 have ended in disaster during the Showdown element of the season, despite such strong performances during the year leading up to it.

A pressure cooker season in 2021 saw O’Halloran crash out from the championship lead, which combined with McAMS Yamaha team-mate Tarran Mackenzie galloping off on a winning streak, saw the championship go the way of his stablemate.

2022 was a disaster for the popular Australian, most would say not of his own doing. Being taken out of both Race 1 and Race 2 at Oulton Park by Peter Hickman and Tommy Bridewell respectively, resulted in sitting out Race 3 due to injury.  That combined with a DNF at Donington Park after losing control of his machine and collecting MCE Ducati rider Tom Sykes, meant O’Halloran was out of contention before entering the series finale at Brands Hatch.

Jason O’Halloran – @ohalloran22 Twitter

Keen to put 2022 behind him,

and hoping that 2023 will be his best year yet in the team, Jason said “Deciding to continue with McAMS Yamaha for 2023 was a pretty easy choice for me. Over the last three years we’ve won 21 races together. It’s a team I feel absolutely at home with and we know we can be in a position to fight for the title as we have for the last three years.

“2022 didn’t quite end how we wanted, but that’s not to say that we didn’t have a positive year – seven wins, a load more podiums and we learned even more about the R1 so that can put us in an even stronger position for 2023. The team won’t rest on their laurels, there are new parts coming from World Superbike and we’ll continue to push on as we look to achieve our ultimate goal of becoming champion.”

Steve Rodgers, Team Owner commented: “Jason has been brilliant for the team over the last four years so keeping him on board for 2023 was our number one priority. While we were all devastated about how the 2022 season ended, after a few weeks to reflect it’s hard to say that it was a bad year – seven victories and 20 podiums is more than anyone else other than Brad.

“We know what Jason is capable of, we know he deserves to win the British Championship and we’ll do our best to give him everything he needs to do that in 2023. We’ve got some new parts coming from the guys in Italy which sound really promising, so we can’t wait to get started!”

Jason O’Halloran – Image Yamaha UK

It’s a funny silly season this year.

O’Halloran is a veteran of the British Superbike paddock and with age not on his side, the world stage likely won’t be offering up many (if any) chances to step up beyond the British level. O’Halloran is in (arguably) the best team in the paddock in terms of structure and support. The only other team many consider a rivalling to Steve Rogers’ McAMS outfit ran from the Fleetwood based Raceways Yamaha, is the PBM Racing MCE Ducati team however with Paul Bird’s team announcing the lineup of Tommy Bridewell and Glenn Irwin, 2023 could turn out to be McAMS Yamaha’s toughest season to date.

Still with no word yet on Tarran Mackenzie’s future, there aren’t many names left looking for a ride that haven’t already been announced. With a handful of spaces available in BSB, there only seems a handful of riders and teams yet to announce their future plans.

Synetiq BMW are still to announce their direction. Lee Hardy’s Vision Track Kawasaki are also waiting to follow suit. FS-3 Kawasaki are yet to announce their second rider along with Rich Energy OMG Racing Yamaha and McAMS themselves. It seems actually this year there are more good bikes available than the number of riders who could actually ride them!

Hopefully we will hear more this weekend at the upcoming Motorcycle Live show in Birmingham.

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Lightning Strikes for Christian Iddon as he targets a return to BSB Success in 2023 with Oxford Products Racing Ducati

Christian Iddon – Image Vision Track Ducati 2020-2021

Another piece of the 2023 jigsaw has fallen into place with Oxford Products Racing Ducati announcing the signing of British Superbike veteran and multiple race winner, Christian Iddon.

Having previously rode for the Vision Track Ducati PBM Team in the 2020 and 2021 season, where Iddon took 21 podium finishes, including 3 race wins, there is certainly enough evidence to suggest a title challenge is more than on the cards. Iddon has everything he needs to mount a successful campaign next year.

Riding for a team with years of experience running the Ducati V4-R, albeit a new version is being released next year. Rumour has it the new bike isn’t much of a change for the team as they are currently running parts on their current bike that are being integrated into the new V4-R next year, so hopefully it will be a case of small setting adjustments, but the aim has to be race wins straight out of the box.

The major positives are the team has a whole wealth of data to fall back on after 4 years with former Oxford Products rider Tommy Bridewell. Christian Iddon also has 2 very successful years under his belt aboard the Ducati with the PBM team, so much so that Iddon was very surprised to be dropped from the team early in 2022 leaving him adrift before finding a last-minute home in the Buildbase team, which unfortunately (and Christian would be the first to say) was a season of frustration on both parts for one reason and another. Iddon was very positive about the Hawk Racing team when I interviewed him during the summer (which you can read here) He did not have a bad word to say about them but it’s clear for all to see, he absolutely suits the characteristics of the Ducati V4-R and I cannot blame him for grasping this opportunity with both hands.

Iddon joining Oxford Products Racing Ducati also puts to bed the sensational rumours that Danilo Petrucci would be joining the British Superbike circus after team owner Steve Moore neither confirmed nor denied rumours recently that he was in talks with the multi skilled ex-MotoGP race winner. As you can see in the below statement, Moore confirms a one rider team again for 2023.

Christian Iddon – Image Oxford Products Racing Ducati

The press release comments: –

Iddon said: “Ducati is the manufacturer that I have had the most success with when I had two fantastic years on the bike previously. My 2021 season was much better than my 2020 season but the end result didn’t reflect it, it was circumstance that did. I felt I was getting stronger all the time on it so it feels great to be heading back to Ducati and to a new team for me with Oxford Products Racing Ducati. Moto Rapido is a team that I have kept an eye on for a while, I have always been pals with the Team Owner, Steve, so hopefully that stays! It is a team that has always had success, but in the last couple of years, they have had even more. They have really stepped up with the combined effort of rider with Tommy [Bridewell] and the team in recent years. Certainly last year they were the Ducati team who had everything required to take the fight for the championship and that is the important part for me. They are a team who are constantly developing and very technically minded which I believe will suit me. I am really looking forward to the challenge and what it may bring. I am coming off the back of what I think has been my hardest ever year in the championship. I have had worst seasons with injuries, but I have never had one where the effort and the possibility was so contrasting to the actual result that we actually got because I believe we had the potential. That is the nature of the beast and that is racing and sport. I am really looking forward now to trying to right those wrongs and get back to where I believe I should be and setting my sights back on my goal, which is to be British Champion.”

Team Owner Steve Moore commented: – “Firstly, thank you to Oxford Products for their continued support. We have gone from strength to strength with their help and we look forward to continuing to reward them with another fantastic season in 2023. They are a company with racing in their heart and they have become an integral part of our racing. Thanks to the boss Andrew Hammond for the continued and increased support even in these uncertain times. I know BSB fans will be sure to pick something from the Oxford shelves in their local dealerships too. I’m also very pleased to welcome Christian to the team; he was the number one choice for me. His experience of Ducati and the great form he had on the V4-R before is confidence inspiring. The bike has developed substantially since he last rode it, so I can’t wait to get him on our bike and begin making it work for him with the 2023 updates. I am sure he will thrive with the focus of being in a one rider team. I’ve already had many technical conversations with him and we seem to be on the same page – he’s as nerdy as me with the technical details so we do get along really well and that’s key to the racing family ethic in our team.  He even seems to have a sense of humour too, which he’ll need!”

I’m sure I speak for most of the British Superbike fans when I say next year is going to be phenomenal and I wouldn’t be at all surprised to see Iddon going into the final race of the year with a chance of becoming British Superbike Champion.

Get the trophy cabinet extended Christian, you are going to need it!

RacingArmchair

 

Honda Racing UK confirms Andrew Irwin and Tom Neave for 2023 British Superbikes

Honda Racing UK have announced the signing of Andrew Irwin alongside retaining former National Superstock 1000 champion, Tom Neave for their 2023 British Superbike campaign.

Andrew Irwin – Honda Racing UK – Source @AndrewIrwin8 Twitter

After a difficult couple of seasons with the Synetiq BMW squad during the 2021 and 2022 seasons, Irwin has decided a move back to familiar territory is on the cards in a renewed push for championship gold and glory. In his previous tenure as a Honda Racing UK rider, 2019/2020, Irwin took no less than 4 wins and finished his best year in 6th position overall in 2020.

Compared to his stint on the BMW M1000RR, where the team have struggled with both riders to get the bikes into a strong operating window, Irwin has produced zero wins and a best overall finish of 13th position in the championship. It’s little wonder the availability of a CBR1000RR-R SP Fireblade vacated by brother, Glenn Irwin, after he announced his signing with MCE Ducati for 2023, was enough to sway the Northern Irishman’s choice to return to a familiar team, on a bike that has won races as recently as the final round of 2022.

Andrew Irwin and Tom Neave – Honda Racing UK

Alongside the Andrew Irwin announcement, the team have confirmed 2022 rider Tom Neave will race for them again in 2023. At the same time, Honda Racing UK have confirmed that Takumi Takahashi and Ryo Mizuno will move on to pastures new, whilst helping the team with testing duties when called upon.

Official Statements: –

Andrew Irwin said: “I am really excited to have signed for Honda for 2023 and I can’t wait to get back on the Fireblade. It was a bike I loved and I believe I am getting on an even better bike than when I left two years ago so I can’t wait to get back on it and just to get stuck into it. I can’t thank Neil and Harv enough for giving me the opportunity to return and I hope I can do a good job. The bike is good which Glenn proved in 2022 and there is no reason why we can’t have a strong championship. I think we have a strong team with good people around me. I plan to have a really good off season and work hard and try to come into 2023 season in the best shape possible. I can’t wait to get back on board and look forward to testing in March.”

Tom Neave said: “I’m absolutely delighted to remain with Honda Racing for what will be my fifth consecutive season in 2023. We have achieved a lot together over the previous seasons, so to remain on the Fireblade for another year will be a positive step for me. There’s no denying my first full season on the Superbike has been a tough one, but continuity is key at this point and the experience I have gained along the way has been invaluable. Next season I look forward to repaying the faith that Honda have shown in me, so I’ll be doing my all to take the next step in my racing career. I can’t wait to get started!”

Havier Beltran, Team Manager, Honda Racing UK said: “We’re delighted to welcome back Andrew alongside Tom in 2023. We’ve shared moments with Andrew like his and the bike’s first wins, and now we’re very happy to be able to bring him back to the family. The 2022 season was a learning year for Tom having graduated from Superstock, and with that experience he’s ready to take the next step in 2023. Alongside Andrew, we have an exciting line-up full of promise and potential. This year has continued to demonstrate the performance of the CBR1000RR-R Fireblade SP and it’s encouraging to have finished our 2022 campaign so strongly. I’d like to thank Glenn for his dedication and hard work and the success we’ve enjoyed together. Similarly, it’s been a pleasure having Ryo and Takumi on board for these last two seasons. We wish them well in the next step in their career and hope to work with them again in the future.”

Neil Fletcher, Head of Motorcycles, Honda UK concluded: “Since 2020 when the new CBR1000RR-R Fireblade SP took its first BSB victory, we’ve continued to demonstrate how much of a force to be reckoned with the new bike is, and 2022 was no exception. Now, it’s with excitement and promise that I look forward to 2023, welcoming Andrew back to the team alongside Tom. Andrew is no stranger to Honda Racing UK and the Fireblade, having played a pivotal role in its development with Honda Racing UK throughout 2020, so we believe it’s a great fit to have him back with us. We start the 2023 season full of optimism and enthusiasm after a strong run in 2022 narrowly missing out on the title, so that’s the target for next season.”

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