British Superbikes: Rider signing rumours continue

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With no news on whether Airwaves Ducati are going to run 1098R F08s in British Superbikes next year movement at the top end of the rider market has stalled – although it’s not stemmed the flow of gossip that characterises the British Superbike village.

Rumours Cal Crutchlow has already signed for HM Plant Honda seem a little wide of the mark, though MCN understands the former Rizla Suzuki rider has agreed terms verbally.

Likewise we’ve heardLeon Haslam has agreed terms with HM Plant but is currently on a month’s holiday so he can’t sign until he returns.

If the pair of them do go to HM Plant as planned, that leaves Airwaves, should they race, with Gregorio Lavilla (if he wants to race in British Superbikes again) and a search for another rider.

We’re not privy to Colin Wright’s shortlist but having a small insight into his methods of selection it’s likely Shane Byrne, Tom Sykes (though he’s tipped to go to Rizla Suzuki) and Leon Camier will be at the top of it.

Then again, if neither Leon Haslam nor Cal Crutchlow have actually signed anything who knows what might happen?

Continuing on the ifs, maybes and downright made up gossip that abounds British Superbikes…..

If  Tom Sykes goes to Rizla Suzuki as rumoured (alongside Japanese rider Atsushi Watanabe we assume) and Shakey (Shane Byrne) to GSE, then that would leave Stobart Honda boss Paul Bird to scout around and, to be frank, there’s no obvious replacements apart from Tommy Hill or maybe impressive Aussie Brendan Roberts who would fit readily into his team.   

Hydrex Honda are also scouting around for a rider with race-winning potential – as are Virgin Yamaha (although it’s likely Bill McConnell will get a British Superbike ride with them) and MSS Kawasaki who are looking aboard for riders.

We expect Michael Rutter to sign for John Hackett’s Buildbase Ducati team, always assuming the 1098Rs are homologated for British Superbikes, taking with him cash from Alastair Kennedy’s NW200 promotional budget. John Hackett will continue to run one rider, probably John Laverty, in British Superstock.

So the only team looking anything like sorted are Hawk Kawasaki who are likely to run with Scott Smart and James Haydon again, though Lloyds British-backed Jentin Yamaha desperately want to keep Simon Andrews.

Just about the only true done deal at this stage seems to be Relentless by TAS Suzuki British Superbike newcomers will field British Supersport champion Michael Laverty  on their British Superbike GSX-R1000 next year.

Read the latest stories causing a buzz this week in Sport…

Gary Pinchin

By Gary Pinchin