Taylor Mackenzie will step up to the MCE British Superbike class for 2017 as he joins Sylvain Guintoli in the new-look Bennetts Suzuki team.
The 23-year-old was confirmed to be remaining with the Hawk Racing squad, with whom he won the 2016 Pirelli National Superstock 1000 series, but at that stage it was not clear whether he’d defend his Superstock title or step up to BSB.
Mackenzie made his BSB debut in 2015 with the WD40 squad, but it was a baptism of fire (quite literally) for the former 125cc GP racer, who failed to score a single point during what turned out to be a difficult season.
Having turned his career around with a dominant year in Superstock, Mackenzie is hoping to carry that momentum forward next year.
“I'm over the moon to be stepping up to the Superbike class in 2017 with Bennetts Suzuki and Hawk Racing,” he said. “I couldn't have asked for a better 2016 and I learnt a lot during the year so I feel like now is the perfect opportunity to move up to BSB. I'm also very excited to ride alongside Sylvain Guintoli next year as he has a lot of success and experience that I'm sure I can learn from. I really can't wait to get going now, Christmas has come early for me!”
Richard Cooper will take Mackenzie’s place in the team’s Superstock 1000 effort as he sets his sights on securing a second title in the revamped class.
Despite the step down coming after he took his debut BSB win in 2016, Cooper said: “I'm really excited to go racing next year for lots of reasons. Firstly, being involved with the new Bennetts Suzuki team is something that really appealed to me, I know how important it will be to the manufacturer to fight for the Superstock championship in 2017 and with the new format of races it should work in my favour.
“I've proved I can win races in any championship that I choose to ride in and Hawk racing has won this title twice before once with Taylor Mackenzie last year and I won it back in 2011 for them so I know I've got the best team around to do the job. I'm under no illusion it will not be easy next year as there is already a long list of ex BSB riders and already well established Superstock riders ready for the fight, but, the one advantage I have is the new GSX-R1000 looks very good on paper and even better in real life and with the direct factory support we will be getting I'm sure we will be a winning combination.”
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