BSB: Danny Kent joins Gino Rea at Buildbase Suzuki for 2021

Gino Rea is joined by Danny Kent at Buildbase Suzuki this season
Gino Rea is joined by Danny Kent at Buildbase Suzuki this season

2015 Moto3 world champion Danny Kent will make his full-time Bennetts British Superbike debut this season after signing for Buildbase Suzuki.

Kent will line-up alongside Gino Rea, who retains his seat after impressing the team last season, at the Hawk Racing outfit. Rea joined the team at round two, initially as a replacement for the injured Keith Farmer.

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Kent is steadily rebuilding his career after being left without a ride between the middle of 2018 and the beginning of last year. The 27-year-old, Britain’s only Grand Prix world champion since Barry Sheene in 1977, departed Leopard Racing’s Moto2 team after three rounds in 2017 before being released from his Speed Up contract midway through 2018.

He returned to the UK last year and competed in the Superstock 1000 class with Morello Racing. Kent secured victory in the season finale at Brands Hatch and finished on the podium on three further occasions.

“I’m really motivated and happy to be joining the Buildbase Suzuki team and I’m looking forward to riding the superbike,” Kent said. “I think a lot of people will know that my career has had both the highest highs and the lowest lows in recent years, with 2019 being a particularly low point, so I’m really grateful to Steve and Stuart (Hicken) for this opportunity.

“Last year I was able to take a step back and I had a good season in Superstock 1000, where I could spend more time learning how to get the best out of a 1000cc machine and prove to people I could still race a bike, and obviously I won at the last round.”

2020 was Kent’s first full campaign on a 1000cc machine having spent the majority of his career on Moto3 machinery. It also marked his first full season on British soil since his time in the Aprilia Superteens Championship, in 2007.

“Moving to a superbike, I think my GP experience could mean I’ll manage quite well as I’m used to a stiffer chassis setup, racing swingarms, slicks, things like that, but I also know I still have a lot of learning to do; getting used just to the speed of the bikes and some UK tracks that I’ve either not been to or not raced on since 2007,” Kent added.

“But I also know I’m joining a team with a lot of experience and a proven record of winning races and championships. I’m setting my expectations high; I’d like to be in the Showdown at the end of the year.”

Meanwhile, Rea has been rewarded for his efforts last season. The Endurance World Championship podium finisher led for the first time in BSB and recorded a best result of fourth at Donington Park.

“I’m really excited to be staying with Buildbase Suzuki for 2021,” the 2009 European Superstock 600 champion said. “Hawk Racing is one of the oldest and most experienced teams in BSB and I’ve got a lot of respect for everyone involved since stepping into the championship, so I’m very thankful to Steve and Stuart for the opportunity to race for them again.

“After joining them last year and seeing the progress we made, it’s the perfect scenario to continue together and build on our hard work from last season. Steve and Stuart are so passionate about their racing which makes it nice and a refreshing environment to be in.”

Tim Neave also stays with the team in the Superstock 1000 class. Neave clinched his first win in the championship at Silverstone last season, on his way to fifth overall.

The 2021 BSB season is due to begin at Oulton Park on the second Bank Holiday weekend in May (29-31).

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Josh Close

By Josh Close

Sports Reporter and fan of all things motorsport.