BSB 2016 kick off this weekend at Silverstone
20th anniversary MCE British Superbike Championship
2016 is set to be an iconic year for the MCE Insurance British Superbike Championship as Britain’s biggest motorsport series celebrates its 20th anniversary season, kicking off with the much-anticipated opener at Silverstone on April 8/9/10.
The MCE BSB grid features an incredible line-up this season with two multiple champions, a total of 11 previous race winners and a further six MCE BSB podium finishers representing eight different nations – Great Britain, USA, Japan, Australia, Sweden, Italy, the Czech Republic and Ireland. And with 2015 champion Josh Brookes taking on World Superbike instead, no rider will wear the #1 plate in season 2016 until a new champion is crowned.
Six manufacturers line up in the battle for the title in 2016; Yamaha were victorious in 2015 but Honda, Ducati, Suzuki and Kawasaki have all been championship winners in the past and BMW are vying for their first MCE BSB title crown in 2016.
Two of the most successful riders in the championship’s history return to lock horns. Four-time champion Shane ‘Shakey’ Byrne is reunited with Ducati for his new campaign and three-time title winner Ryuichi Kiyonari is aiming to equal the score following a switch to the Bennetts Suzuki team.
Leon Haslam makes a much-anticipated return from the world stage and is fired up to fight for the title that has eluded him in the past. The ‘Pocket Rocket’ has been rapid throughout pre-season testing on the JG Speedfit Kawasaki and wants to pick up where he left off – by winning races from the start.
John Hopkins also has his sights firmly set on becoming the first American to win the title. The Californian came to within 0.006 seconds on track of championship victory in 2011, but was denied the number one plate by Tommy Hill in the closest ever title finish. Now ‘Hopper’ returns on the title-winning YZF-R1 in the ePayMe Yamaha team, managed incredibly by his former nemesis, 2011 champion Hill.
2016 is set to be the toughest ever fight to make the top six for the final three title-deciding Showdown rounds of the season. This year there are eight riders on the grid who have previously secured a Title Fighter place, but with the young guns pushing to make their mark, the championship is set for an explosive anniversary season.
James Ellison (JG Speedfit Kawasaki), Tommy Bridewell (Bennetts Suzuki), Michael Laverty (Tyco BMW) and Dan Linfoot (Honda Racing) were all Showdown contenders last season, but before they can repeat those performances they face their own in team rivalry with contenders including Christian Iddon (Tyco BMW) and Jason O’Halloran (Honda Racing) aiming to be the team top gun.
Last year’s rookies, 22-year-old Danny Buchan (Essex) and 23-year-old Luke Mossey (Cambridge) have set an impressive pace during pre-season testing in Spain and are aiming to upstage their more experienced rivals again in 2016.
Previous Dickies British Supersport Championship riders Glenn Irwin, American James Rispoli and Sam Hornsey progress to the premier class this season and are all vying for the award of top rookie in 2016 after the impressive podium performances of Buchan and Mossey in 2015.
Multiple TT race-winner Michael Dunlop will also line up on the grid at selected rounds with the Buildbase BMW team alongside Richard Cooper and Lee Jackson.
Filip Backlund and Matej Smrz are recovering after sustaining injuries as a result of falls at the recent Donington Park official test.
It’s now the final countdown to the opening round of the MCE Insurance British Superbike Championship which kicks off at Silverstone this weekend (April 8/9/10).