BSB

It’s showtime! Who will win the 2019 BSB Title Showdown?

The 2019 British Superbike Championship Title Showdown kicks off at Assen with three rounds and seven races to decide the 2019 BSB championship winner

It’s crunch time in the British Superbike Championship as the annual jaunt to Assen heralds the start of the 2019 BSB Title Showdown with arguably one of the most open deciders in prospect we have seen for some time.

Three rounds (Assen, Donington Park, Brands Hatch) and seven races will ultimately decide this year’s championship between six riders – Josh Brookes, Scott Redding, Tommy Bridewell, Tarran Mackenzie, Danny Buchan and Peter Hickman.

We take a look at their chances ahead of this weekend’s crucial Showdown curtain raiser in the Netherlands.

Josh Brookes

Be Wiser Ducati Panigale V4R (548 points)

On his day, Josh Brookes is unbeatable and at times in 2019 – Oulton Park, Thruxton and Brands Hatch – he has been in a class of his own. However, it has been tempered with some surprisingly lacklustre showings which soften his status as arguably the favourite.

The emergence of Redding as a genuine contender has been both a blessing and a curse for Brookes in that it has siphoned a lot of the attention away from him (much to his happiness) but puts him head-to-head with his own team-mate in pursuit for a title for the first time. 

The only former champion, this is Brookes’ ninth Title Showdown appearance and it’s that sheer experience and knowledge of how things can change quickly that will ultimately be his advantage.

At the same time, with Redding coming to the end of his BSB endeavour before he leaves for WorldSBK, this is his only chance to show he’s boss. And that’s before you consider there is also a privateer Ducati in the mix to upset the factory Paul Bird boys.

Still though, if Brookes has the most pressure here, he is easily the rider best equipped to handle it with aplomb.

Scott Redding

Be Wiser Ducati Panigale V4R (545 points)

Redding comes into the Title Showdown with nothing and everything to lose. 

The ex-MotoGP rider’s future is already assured on the world stage in 2020, but while Redding can leave BSB with his head held high regardless after a memorable debut season in BSB, he will dearly love to leave as the man that came, saw, conquered and – to borrow his famously colourful dialect – f***ed off.

Redding has favourable circuits coming up. Whilst he has shown himself adept at adapting to Britain’s quirkier tracks, Assen will be the first venue he knows better than anyone – one that will suit his active riding style – and his trio of wins at Donington Park earlier in the year make him a big favourite there.

However, it is worth noting that Redding has never been in a title showdown of any sorts in his career, so the big question mark will come from whether he can be as tactical as he is quick when it comes to a pressured environment.

Either way, you can bet Redding will be throwing the kitchen sink at winning this title.

Tommy Bridewell

Oxford Racing Ducati (524 points)

Redding may be the ‘celebrity’ with probably has the biggest fan base by default – or at least one that transcends British borders – but you’d be hard pressed to find anyone who would begrudge Bridewell a spectacular first BSB title.

We’ve been here a few times before with Bridewell of course – this will be his fourth time in the Showdown - which gives him ‘big match experience’, more than anyone other than Brookes, though this is his first appearance since 2015.

Bizarrely, that was also the season of his most recent win until he finally broke that drought – after an extraordinary 115 races – at the most recent Oulton Park round. During that time he had amassed 19 podiums without topping it.

On the plus side, Bridewell has received the race-winning confidence boost at the exact right time, but he knows he’ll need to be a touch more aggressive to continue that theme in a season that has seen him close to the front throughout (12 podiums, but only one win) without quite being able to finish it off. That theme won’t win him a title. 

Regardless, it has been a vindicating season for Bridewell after a difficult few years, one that has seen him right up at the front with Brookes and Redding on the privateer Oxford Racing (Moto Rapido) Ducati. However the Showdown pans out, Bridewell has reminded everyone of his quality and – in the memory of his brother Ollie – it would make an emotionally fitting result if he was to defeat the ‘factory’ boys at their own game.

Tarran Mackenzie

McAMS Yamaha R1 (515 points)

Of the six contenders in the Showdown, Tarran Mackenzie is arguably the biggest ‘wild-card’ having reached the Showdown despite spending a portion of it on the sidelines or injured.

Remarkably McAMS rider Mackenzie did enough in the nine events to qualify despite missing two rounds altogether and spending another two battling a wrist injury. 

The inconsistency of the Yamaha R1 package – which blew everyone away at Silverstone but has been off the pace elsewhere – could be the determining factor against the ‘Ducati block’ but a fully fit Mackenzie has the nous to go with anyone.

Indeed, though he wasn’t a title contender, it was during the 2018 Title Showdown rounds that Mackenzie ascended into a powerful podium contender with rostrums at Assen and Brands Hatch, so perhaps the time is indeed now for the young Scotsman.

Definitely a dark horse.

Danny Buchan

FS-3 Racing Kawasaki ZX-10RR (514 points)

Arguably the revelation of the season, this is the year Danny Buchan delivered on the promise many felt he has always had but been unable to show.

The odd duff round aside – which unfortunately for him includes Donington Park which he’ll be revisiting – Buchan has been consistently ‘best of the rest’ on the FS-3 Kawasaki and at times difficult to beat, as demonstrated by his truly formidable wins at Knockhill and Cadwell Park.

Much like Bridewell, Buchan has done it all with the benefit of a dedicated team that has thrown everything behind its rider, with FS-3 Racing providing excellent support without really any manufacturer backing (though this will change in 2020).

It might be a stretch to consider Buchan as a title contender but with 13 top five finishes in his pocket, if his rivals fold under pressure, there is definitely a top three up for grabs at least.

Peter Hickman

Smiths Racing BMW (501 points)

As ever, Peter Hickman does it the hard way to reach the 2019 BSB Title Showdown for a third year running with Smiths Racing, just getting the better of his rivals to nab the final spot at the final time of asking.

With only one podium to his name this year, Hickman has relied more on consistency (one DNF) rather than outright speed to crack the top six again.

However, the Isle of Man TT winner has shown himself to be unfillable on the biggest stages and on more than one occasions he has saved his best until the last stages.

A big fan favourite and riding a BMW S1000RR that has more pace – or at least more potential – than the previous generation machine he took to the Showdown in 2017 and 2018, Hickman could be a fly in the ointment for his rivals, but it would take a spectacular upturn for him to come away as the 2019 champion.

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