The latest news from the British Superbike paddock sees McAMS Yamaha announce the promotion of Tim Neave from National Superstock 1000 to British Superbikes for 2023.
After an injury riddled season aboard an R1 for the team in the National Superstock 1000 category which saw a broken pelvis ruin Neave’s season, McAMS have decided they had seen enough to warrant signing Neave into their superbike squad in the vacated seat of Tarran Mackenzie.
With Mackenzie, the former British Superbike Champion of 2021 having announced he is moving on to pastures new for 2023, this leaves the Fleetwood based squad in a position to take a chance on the young BSB rookie. Neave joins the team to learn and develop alongside current Yamaha Veteran rider, Jason O’Halloran.
Neave said: “To get the call up to ride for McAMS Yamaha is a dream come true. When I signed to ride for the team last year, in the back of my mind I was thinking if I could do a really good job on the Superstock bike and a seat became available, it would be the dream but I didn’t think it would actually happen!
“Raceways are one of, if not the best teams in the paddock – they’ve certainly won more races than anyone else in recent years so I can’t think of a better team to step up into BSB with. I loved riding the R1 Superstock bike, it really suited me as a rider and from what Jason has told me, the Superbike has similar characteristics so I’m looking forward to getting out on it for the first time. BSB is one of the toughest classes in racing, but I’ll give it my everything to make sure this opportunity isn’t wasted on me.”
Team Owner Steve Rodgers commented:“When Tim joined the team to race the Superstock bike in 2022 we were all really impressed by him. Not only was he super quick straightaway, but his attitude and the way he went about things meant that he fit in to the team immediately. There’s no doubt had the Knockhill accident, which wasn’t his fault, not occurred, he’d have continued to fight for the Superstock title.
“When he was fit, he was super-fast on the R1 and the Superstock bike has a lot of similarities to the Superbike, including the fact that we couldn’t run any traction control on the stocker, so the jump isn’t as big as it is with some other manufacturers. There’s still a lot to learn, but we are confident he’ll pick it up and look forward to seeing what he can achieve.”
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.
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.’’
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.
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.
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.
Synetic BMW Motorrad by TAS Racing have announced the continuation of their professional relationship with Danny Buchan.
Hoping third time’s a charm for Buchan after 2 frustrating years on BMW machinery, the popular Essex rider is hoping for a strong step in the right direction on board the M1000-RR motorcycle from odd wins to frequent wins.
TAS racing haven’t kept hold of the factory support of BMW for 2023, which goes the way of colleagues and competitors, FHO Racing BMW as they were recently named the officially supported team. This may not be a bad thing in the long run. Only the team themselves truly know the level of input BMW have in the day to day running, but TAS Racing have a long history of running at the front of the British Superbikes and remain fully focused on returning to winning ways and good luck to them!
Speaking about the announcement, Danny Buchan said: – “If you look at the steps we made this season from the midway-point through to the end, it was positive progression. Wins at Cadwell Park yes, that was a superb weekend for everyone involved, but two podiums at Brands – which is possibly my weakest circuit on the calendar – just proves the strength and ongoing development of the TAS prepared M 1000 RR package. That’s a massive credit to the team.
“Taking that all into consideration, it was a ‘no-brainer’ for me to stay for 2023 and while we always talk about bike development, there are a few things I need to improve myself, so the hard work has already begun. It’s inspiring to have also seen the launch of the new and improved M 1000 RR, so I can’t wait to hook up with the boys and get going.”
Team Principal Philip Neill commented: – “After two strong seasons together, whilst developing the SYNETIQ BMW M 1000 RR, we are really looking forward to a third year with Danny. We have shown we can win races together and the aim will be to build on that and challenge for the championship in 2023.”
We are still awaiting announcement of their second rider but the rumour that Leon Haslam will join the team is gathering momentum. As with all rumours and silly season speculations, until they are officially announced, they are not always to be taken seriously.
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.
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.
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.”
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.
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.”
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.
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.
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.”
McAMS Yamaha has today announced the re-signing of Jason O’Halloran for a renewed attack on the British Superbike Championship for 2023.
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.
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!”
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.
Thanks for reading. Follow on twitter for more Motorcycle chat and debate.
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.
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!
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.
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.
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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