BSB

The 6 Riders to Watch in the 2020 BSB Championship

We may not know the start date for the 2020 British Superbike Championship as yet but that doesn't stop us looking into our crystal ball...

As April looms we really should have been enjoying weekend upon weekend of motorcycle racing by now, yet here we are unsure of when we’ll see our favourite warriors battling it out on a Sunday afternoon for our enjoyment.

However, this enforced hiatus doesn’t mean we can’t still be looking forward to the action whenever it does eventually take place!

The British Superbike Championship would have been nearing the first official test of the season at Silverstone prior to the 2020 curtain raiser. With plenty of movements over the winter, we’ve highlighted six riders who we deserve a close eye this season, whichever form it takes…

Danny Buchan – Massingberd-Mundy Kawasaki

At 27-years old it’s strange to consider Danny Buchan a veritable veteran of British Superbikes, much less one that really came of age in 2019. However, after notching up his first win last season seven years and 76 starts since making his BSB debut, Buchan comes into 2020 with a weight of expectation.

Despite his privateer status, last year Buchan flew the flag for the 2018 title-winning manufacturer as part of the one bike FS-3 Racing team, trouncing the factory-supported Quattro Plant effort to such an extent Kawasaki shifted its backing to the outfit for 2020.

Competing under the Massinberd-Mundy Racing banner as per a sponsorship that that covers ‘Team Green’ across the classes, Buchan benefits from both the continuity of racing with FS-3 with the plenty of added resource.

Twice a winner in 2019 en route to fourth overall, Buchan may have taken a little while to realise the potential seen in him seasons ago, but as one of the few people to duke it out with the Ducatis in the heat of battle – and win – it wouldn’t take much of a leap to be considered a title contender in 2020.

Andrew Irwin – Honda Racing

While Honda itself may want to forget the 2019 season fairly quickly after failing to reach the Title Showdown for the second year in a row, there were plenty of positives to take from Andrew Irwin’s first full season in the series.

Though it was slightly against the grain of Honda’s season as a whole, a well-judged victory at Thruxton demonstrated Irwin’s potential on an otherwise tricky package, while he was largely more consistent than his highly regarded and experienced team-mate Xavi Fores.

For 2020, Irwin has plenty to build upon and he’ll do it with brand-new machinery thanks to the launch of the Honda CBR1000RR-R, which is expected to get the manufacturer back competing with Ducati and Kawasaki.

Moreover, he has his brother Glenn alongside him as both a friendly team-mate and rival that should keep Honda development pushing in the right direction.

Ryan Vickers – RAF Regular & Reserves Kawasaki

Runners-up in 2018 with Jake Dixon, RAF Regular & Reserves Kawasaki could have had the pick of the riders coming into 2019 but instead ventured off-piste by investing in young talent and doing the unprecedented thing of promoting Ryan Vickers from SSTK600 all the way to Superbike.

There were bumps (literally) along the way, with Vickers suffering a few sizeable accidents that at one stage prompted the team to take a step back in favour of confidence-boosting private tests.

However, that aside there was a lot to be impressed with, Vickers showing experience well beyond his youth in the heat of battle and notching up number of strong top ten finishes by the end of the year.

With one year under his belt, Vickers proved eye-catchingly quick out of the box recently in Spain and is definitely the rider with more to come as the season progresses.

Bradley Ray – Synetiq BMW

The 2019 season was certainly a sobering one for Bradley Ray after losing all the confidence he gained from his headline-grabbing 2018 campaign. Battling a lack of feel from the Suzuki GSX-R1000R, Ray began to show flashes of excellence again towards the end of the year, but it was clear he needed a change of machinery going forward.

As such, he lands at TAS Racing – now branded Synetiq Racing – another team looking to get back on course for 2020 after once again being beaten to the Title Showdown by the privateer Smiths Racing outfit.

Indeed, it’s been a while since the team climbed onto the BSB podium, but by securing a rider with something to prove in Ray, they could have a match made in heaven.

At their best, both Ray and the BMW S1000RR are race winners and Title Showdown contenders

Christian Iddon – VisionTrack Ducati

Much like Buchan had been before, it’s strange to think Christian Iddon still remains without a race win in BSB despite not only being experienced but being regarded as one of the top riders in the series.

However, for 2020 he will never have a better opportunity to prove himself than on the 2019 title-winning Paul Bird Motorsport-prepared VisionTrack Ducati Panigale V4 R.

A machinelargely dominant last season in the hands of Josh Brookes, Scott Redding and Tommy Bridewell, Iddon comes in to fill the shoes of the ex-MotoGP-turned-Superbike rider and will almost certainly be expected to fight it out for the top three overall.

While his victory record – or lack thereof – may count against him, few expect him to end this year with the same winless streak as he will start it with.

Hector Barbera – Rich Energy OMG BMW

The latest in the great tradition of foreign riders giving British Superbikes a crack, former MotoGP rider Hector Barbera got a short, sharp shock – and a few bruises – when he joined mid-season on the Quattro Plant Kawasaki.

Initially fast on circuits he knew well (even scoring a top six on his debut), Barbera was all at sea on unknown circuits as he attempted to both learn them while tuning his usual electronics-free machinery to go quick on them… occasionally leading to some rolls through the gravel trap.

Which is why some may have not expected him to come back for 2020, but Barbera should be much better prepared this season with the benefit of some much-needed mileage behind him.

Joining Rich Energy OMG Racing, which itself has switched from Suzuki to BMW machinery, Barbera looked to be a match for Luke Mossey in testing and – based on his success in other series’ - potentially has a lot more in reserve.

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