British Superbike riders in the most hurry to perform in 2022? | British Superbikes
Here’s a look at three British Superbike riders who Crash.net says are under the most pressure to perform in 2022.
The 2021 BSB Championship has been one of the most competitive in recent years, and one where a first-time champion in Tarran Mackenzie was crowned.
The McAMS Yamaha rider has been involved in a four-way fight for most of the season with teammate Jason O’Halloran, Tommy Bridewell and Christian Iddon.
But while there were many standout performances from youngsters and veterans alike, there were also some riders who didn’t quite live up to expectations.
With that said, here are three runners who Crash.net says most need a big year in 2022.
3: Bradley Ray
The 2022 season will see the much-loved Bradley Ray move from BMW to Yamaha, a move which, based on the 2021 results, could be very good – Yamaha have won the MotoGP, WorldSBK, BSB and MotoAmerica titles.
Ray did not change teams, rather it was his current team Rich Energy OMG Racing who decided to change manufacturers.
So given the trade with Yamaha and the continuity between him and the Rich Energy team, Ray should be in a good position to fight for a first win since 2018.
Ray has only four podiums in the past three seasons, which equates to four in 75 races; clearly a number that is not enough for a rider of his talent.
When speaking to us before last season, Ray said that the switch to BMW was largely due to the fact that it offered a route to WorldSBK, and although that was no longer the case due to the change of builder, compatriot Yamaha Mackenzie is set for three WorldSBK wildcard tours in 2022 before a possible full-time move in 2023.
This means that while Ray had a strong 2022 season, one where finishing in the top five should be the goal, all is not lost when it comes to the future in WorldSBK.
2: Danny Kent
Then, former Moto3 champion Danny Kent. The British rider was scheduled to play his first full BSB season in 2021, but failed to complete all 11 innings as he suffered an injury. Kent only competed in 14 races.
Although Kent secured a first podium at Thruxton, the 28-year-old was also prone to falls as he suffered six DNFs in 14 races.
Of course, if he had been fit the rest of the season, the results could have improved; just take teammate Gino Rea who failed to make a top six in his first 18 races, but once he did, it led to a streak of seven in his last 14 races, including two victories at Donington Park.
But that said, it all depends on Kent being retained by the Buildbase Suzuki team who have yet to confirm their 2022 rider roster.
1: Andrew Irwin
SYNETIQ BMW driver Andrew Irwin is number one on this list. Since replacing injured Shane Byrne at Ducati in 2018, Irwin has shown serious potential but has yet to systematically realize it.
In the defense of the Northern Irishman he has been on three different motorcycles (Honda and BMW being the other two) in four years, however, 2021 has been a very disappointing season as he won three races during of a much shorter 2020 season – had no wins in 2021.
Irwin, who was in his first year with BMW just like his teammate Danny Buchan, was consistently behind Buchan who beat Irwin in 18 of 29 races.
Irwin managed to step onto a podium, although it was his lowest comeback since 2019 that led to a 14th place finish in the Championship – seven places worse than Buchan.