2021 British Superbike Championship - Who goes where?

The 2021 British Superbike Championship grid is filling up nicely before we've even reached January... so who is going where for BSB 2021?
 

Josh Brookes, Tarran Mackenzie, Jason O'Halloran BSB 2020 [credit: Ian Hopgood Photography]

The 2020 British Superbike Championship may have been a touch ‘blink and you’ll miss it’ as a full campaign was compacted into six triple-headers and for the first time since 2009, no Title Showdown six-way shootout to round things off.

Nonetheless, the racing remained sublime on numerous occasions, while Josh Brookes turned his favourite pre-season season status in what ended up being a fairly comfortable title victory, it was certainly closer than that would have you believe.

Attention now, of course, turns to the 2021 BSB Championship, which returns to a full strength calendar of 12 events and - hopefully - will be welcoming back the spectators too.

There are still plenty of big seats up for grabs, but as of writing the grid is already shaping up very nicely…

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Confirmed

While we wait Paul Bird Motorsport to confirm whether it plans to retain Brookes and Christian Iddon (champion and third respectively in 2020), McAMS Yamaha have gotten in there early with the confirmation that Tarran Mackenzie and Jason O’Halloran will enter into a third season as team-mates in 2021.

While Mackenzie was hampered by an indifferent start to the year, he still topped the podium on two occasions, while O’Halloran also made a welcome return to the top with only the second and third career wins of a career spanning 11 years now, stringing together his most convincing title tilt yet en route to the runners-up spot.

After its breakthrough 2019 campaign earned it Kawasaki UK backing for 2020, FS-3 Racing didn’t quite push on in the title reckoning as hoped but heads into the new year with arguably the most intriguing set up of all. Upgrading to the new, works-supported Kawasaki ZX-10RR, FS-3 have re-signed Lee Jackson and secured the much vaunted signature of teenager Rory Skinner, who steps up after dominating the BritishSSP class.

Another anticipated front runner will be Tommy Bridewell on the Oxford Racing Moto Rapido Ducati, who will look to get back to the 2019 form that kept him in title contention until the final round.

BMW will be well represented, as ever, with at least six entries using the new M 1000 RR - a more focused ‘homologation special’ version of the S 1000 RR.

Synetiq (TAS Racing) continue as the works-nominated outfit, overhauling its line-up with a pair of respected race winners in Danny Buchan and Andrew Irwin, who swap over from Kawasaki and Honda respectively, while the Rich Energy OMG outfit pairs Bradley Ray and Kyle Ryde.

Finally, Smiths Racing’s operation has been taken on by a fresh effort financed by Macanese entrepreneur Faye Ho, who lends her name to the new FHO Racing team. Leading its efforts on the track and roads (albeit not the TT now) will be Peter Hickman, while Xavi Fores returns to BSB after a brief return to WorldSBK.

Elsewhere, Luke Mossey will ride the DB Motorsport (formerly Bike Devil) Kawasaki ZX-10RR, Josh Owens was confirmed as staying with CDH Racing a few weeks ago and Dan Linfoot intends to be back with TAG Racing after the outfit withdraw midway through 2020 with a view to regrouping for 2021.

Who is still to be confirmed?

As we say, Paul Bird Motorsport is yet to announce its plans for 2021 but is unlikely to feel compelled to change the winning combination of Brookes and Iddon on the Ducati Panigale V4 R.

However, Honda Racing - which made a headline-grabbing return to prominence in 2020 with the new CBR1000RR-R - will need at least one new rider following Irwin’s departure, leaving his brother Glenn yet-to-be-confirmed as staying with the team and one very coveted seat on the table.

Other teams yet to confirm plans include RAF Regular & Reserves (Lee Hardy Racing), who has run Ryan Vickers the last two seasons, and Hawk Racing (Buildbase) Suzuki.

Indeed, while the Suzuki GSX-R1000R isn’t exactly in the first flush of youth, rookie Ryde managed to squeeze two wins out of it in an impressive maiden BSB showing. With Ryde unavailable now, outfit could retain Gino Rea, whose eye-catching stand-in showings for the injured Keith Farmer earned him the chance to remain with the team to its conclusion.

2021 BSB Rider Line-up (so far...)

2021 BSB Championship Rider Line-up (so far)
TeamMotorcycleRider #1Rider #2
McAMS YamahaYamaha YZF-R1Jason O'HalloranTarran Mackenzie
Oxford RacingDucati Panigale V4 RTommy BridewellN/A
FS-3 RacingKawasaki ZX-10RRLee JacksonRory Skinner
Synetiq (TAS Racing)BMW M 1000 RRAndrew IrwinDanny Buchan
Rich Energy OMG RacingBMW M 1000 RRBradley RayKyle Ryde
FHO RacingBMW M 1000 RRPeter HickmanXavi Fores
DB MotorsportKawasaki ZX-10RRDanny Buchan 
CDH RacingKawasaki ZX-10RR (TBC)Josh Owens 
TAG RacingYamaha YZF-R1 (TBC)Dan Linfoot 
Paul Bird MotorsportDucati Panigale V4 RTBCTBC
Honda RacingHonda CBR1000RR-RTBCTBC
Hawk RacingSuzuki GSX-R1000RTBCTBC
RAF Regular & Reserves (Lee Hardy)Kawasaki ZX-10RR (TBC)TBC 

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