BSB 2020 is go… but can anyone defeat Ducati and Josh Brookes?

The 2020 British Superbike Championship roars back into life at Donington Park after a long delay - but who are the favourites to prevail in a six-round, 18 race showdown?

Josh Brookes - VisionTrack Ducati [credit: Ian Hopgood]

The 2020 motorsport may be in full swing now but for many the centrepiece of the season is still to get underway… at least until this weekend when the 2020 British Superbike Championship roars back into life.

While spectators won’t be present just yet, a condensed ‘flag to flag’ season brings a foreign challenge for many of the riders and threatens to shake up the order.

Indeed, with no Title Showdown format to fall back upon this year and ‘only’ 18 races to decide this year’s champion – triple-headers across six events – there is certainly more at stake from the very first round this time.

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Nonetheless, there remains one hot favourite in Josh Brookes, who having just missed out on the 2019 BSB crown to team-mate – and currently WorldSBK leader – Scott Redding, heads into the Donington Park opener as the one they all want to beat.

But who is best placed to step up and take him on…?

Ducati Panigale V4 R

It has a new name and a revised rider line-up but the target for multiple champions Paul Bird Motorsport – nee VisionTrack Ducati – remains very much the same.

Indeed, the Ducati Panigale V4 R alone has a dominant record to protect coming into the season having clinched 21 of last year’s 26 race wins - including a number of podium lockouts – but Brookes, as a ten-time winner in 2019, has the target on his back.

On the other side of the garage, PBM welcomes Christian Iddon, who gets the opportunity of a lifetime to get that long awaited maiden BSB win under his belt on the VisionTrack machine. The experienced superbike racer has been an established front runner for some time, mostly on the TAS Racing BMW, but having severed ties with the squad in favour of a move to the Ducati V4, a maiden win is surely around the corner.

Despite Ducati’s dominance in 2019, there remains only three of the Panigales on the grid coming to Donington Park with Tommy Bridewell – fresh from his race-winning run to third overall last season – confident of stepping up to a full title fight.

Kawasaki ZX-10RR

Kawasaki UK has switched allegiance to FS-3 Racing for 2020, which earns it a new backer in Massingberd-Mundy and allows it to expand to a two-man line-up, with 2019 standout Danny Buchan joined by the team’s Superstock front runner Lee Jackson.

With added Kawasaki support, hopes are high Buchan especially can find those extra tenths needed to push the team into VisionTrack Ducati’s range.

Elsewhere among the Kawasaki contingent in 2020, Ryan Vickers is primed for a strong second season on the RAF Regular & Reserves ZX-10RR after showing flashes of promise in his rookie campaign having stepped right up from Superstock 600.

The Bike Devil team makes its full-time bow having changed plans to run a Ducati in favour of Kawasaki over concerns about getting the parts it needed from Italy during the coronavirus. Ex-Moto2 rider Gino Rea leads its charge. 

Yamaha YZF-R1

Though its burgeoning title challenge ran out of steam as the season progressed, McAMS Yamaha has high expectations for its pairing of Tarran Mackenzie and Jason O’Halloran. The former especially showed title challenging pace at times in 2019, even if he was undone by injuries towards the end, while the experienced O’Halloran remains a reliable pair of hands with something to prove.

Elsewhere, Santander Salt TAG Racing sticks with Dan Linfoot for 2020 but adds British Supersport Champion Jack Kennedy to it’s a formidable and experienced BSB line-up.

Honda CBR1000RR-R

The biggest change on the 2020 BSB grid is the arrival of the brand-new Honda CBR1000RR-R in the hands of the factory team. Though the machine hasn’t set the world alight on the international stage as yet, in more stock trim it has been tipped to perform more strongly.

Honda protégé Andrew Irwin is retained following a race-winning turn in 2019 on the ageing and outgoing Fireblade and he will be joined by his brother Glenn Irwin in a team that will surely work very well together to bring the new machine up to scratch.


No other machine is as broadly represented on the 2020 BSB grid as BMW, which is perhaps just as well since it is still chasing its first title in the series.

With new backers Synetiq on board, TAS Racing remains the officially backed BMW outfit and will head into 2020 with a brand new line-up with Bradley Ray coming on board to prove his worth on a bike other than the Suzuki GSXR-1000R, while Taylor Mackenzie gets another shot at BSB after an eye-catching performance with the team in Superstock 1000.

However, Synetiq BMW will still face a stern challenge from within its own fold as sister team Smiths Racing – now known as Global Robots BMW – will be looking to get the better of the official team once again. The ever-reliable Peter Hickman stays on board for another season as he looks to secure some silverware in the absence of a roads campaign in 2020, while newcomer Alex Olsen gets his first full season after a handful of outings in 2019.

Resplendent in a new black and gold livery courtesy of new backers Rich Energy, OMG Racing swaps from Suzuki to BMW machinery for 2020 and has looked strong in testing. Luke Mossey remains with the outfit for a second season, joined by Hector Barbera, who will be looking to demonstrate his MotoGP credentials after a tough first shot at BSB with Kawasaki.

In all, nine BMWs will make up the BSB grid this year, including PR Racing Lloyds and Jones Bowker, which has shown impressive pre-season form with youngster Joe Francis, who heads into his second season with the team. 

Suzuki GSXR-1000R

Suzuki is down to just one team for 2020 but remains in collaboration with long-term partners Buildbase (Hawk Racing). However, it will have an all-new line-up for this season with Keith Farmer returning from injury looking to continue the decent form he showed on the Tyco BMW before his Knockhill accident, while Supersport front runner Kyle Ryde steps up to BSB to get his shot at the big time..

Gino ReaGBRBike Devil KawasakiKawasaki ZX-10RR
Kyle RydeGBRBuildbase SuzukiSuzuki GSXR-1000R
Keith FarmerGBRBuildbase SuzukiSuzuki GSXR-1000R
Josh OwensGBRCDH RacingKawasaki ZX-10RR
Storm StaceyGBRGR MotorsportKawasaki ZX-10RR
Glenn IrwinGBRHonda RacingHonda CBR1000RR-R
Dean HarrisonGBRHonda RacingHonda CBR1000RR-R
Joe FrancisGBRLloyds & Jones PR RacingBMW S1000RR
Lee JacksonGBRMassingberd-Mundy KawasakiKawasaki ZX-10RR
Danny BuchanGBRMassingberd-Mundy KawasakiKawasaki ZX-10RR
Jason O'HalloranAUSMcAMS YamahaYamaha YZF-R1
Tarran MackenzieGBRMcAMS YamahaYamaha YZF-R1
Bjorn EstmentSWENP MotorcyclesBMW S1000RR
Tommy BridewellGBROxford Racing ProductsDucati Panigale V4 R
Ryan VickersGBRRAF Regular & ReservesKawasaki ZX-10RR
Hector BarberaESPRich Energy OMG RacingBMW S1000RR
Luke MosseyGBRRich Energy OMG RacingBMW S1000RR
Brian McCormackIRLRoadhouse Macau by ON1BMW S1000RR
Jack KennedyIRLSantander Salt TAG RacingYamaha YZF-R1
Dan LinfootGBRSantander Salt TAG RacingYamaha YZF-R1
Peter HickmanGBRSmiths RacingBMW S1000RR
Alex OlsenGBRSmiths RacingBMW S1000RR
Bradley RayGBRSynetiq BMWBMW S1000RR
Taylor MackenzieGBRSynetiq BMWBMW S1000RR
Graeme IrwinGBRTeam 64 MototsportKawasaki ZX-10RR
Josh BrookesAUSVisionTrack DucatiDucati Panigale V4 R
Christian IddonGBRVisionTrack DucatiDucati Panigale V4 R