Honda announces Andrew Irwin and Tom Neave for BSB 2023

Honda has announced its BSB rider line-up, with a reduction from four to two bikes, the retention of Tom Neave and the return of Andrew Irwin all confirmed.

Andrew Irwin and Tom Neave announced as 2023 Honda BSB riders. - Honda

Honda UK has announced its riders for the 2023 British Superbike Championship, with Tom Neave being retained and Andrew Irwin returning. 

The 2022 British Superbike season ended in a positive way for Honda, with Glenn Irwin scoring the most points of any rider in the final nine races of the season and finishing runner-up in the title race to Bradley Ray, who won his first BSB crown. 

Irwin, though, left at the end of the 2022 season to feature in an all-new line-up at PBM Ducati alongside Tommy Bridewell

That left a gap to fill, and with Andrew Irwin showing improvements in both speed and consistency in the final part of 2022, Honda has decided to bring the #18 back into its fold. 

Irwin last raced with Honda in 2020, the first year of the current generation Honda CBR1000RR-R Fireblade, when he was teammates with his brother, Glenn. 

It is fair to say that the younger of the two Irwins is a controversial character in BSB. The #18 is undoubtedly fast, but he also finds himself involved in incidents more often than would be desired, especially in Honda. It will be interesting to find out in 2023 whether Irwin will be able to avoid the high-profile incidents that have so far been a more significant factor and frequent occurrence in his time in BSB than successful moments (which it is worth noting have not been entirely absent).

The two Japanese riders who have been with Honda UK in 2021 and 2022 will leave BSB in 2023. Neither Ryo Mizuno nor Takumi Takahashi were able to find the success they perhaps would have hoped for in BSB. 

That means the only continuity for Honda in 2023 in terms of riders is Tom Neave, who had a quiet debut season in BSB but not entirely without promise. 

“I am really excited to have signed for Honda for 2023 and I can’t wait to get back on the Fireblade,” said Andrew Irwin. “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 the 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 5th 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!”

Honda Racing UK Team Manager, Havier Beltran, added: “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.”

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