MotoGP: Rory Skinner to make Moto2 wildcard appearances at Silverstone and Red Bull Ring

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Bennetts British Superbike Championship rider Rory Skinner will make his Moto2 debut in August after joining forces with the American Racing team.

Skinner will get his first taste of Grand Prix action at the British Grand Prix at Silverstone (August 7), whilst he’ll also get to compete for the team at the Austrian Grand Prix at the Red Bull Ring (August 21).

The Scot is currently fourth in BSB after taking four podiums and a total of eight top four finishes so far in 2022. The Cheshire Mouldings FS-3 Racing Kawasaki rider was leading the final race at Knockhill when he crashed out of contention.

Skinner has been widely thought of as Britain’s next big hope in the GP paddock. The 20-year-old is a Red Bull Rookies race winner, whilst he won the inaugural British Talent Cup in 2019. Skinner also secured a best result of fifth in the FIM CEV Moto3 Junior World Championship

Skinner dominated the British Supersport Championship in 2020, winning 10 of the 12 races to clinch the title by 96 points, before making his Superbike debut the following year.

Rory Skinner celebrates his podium at Knockhill

“I’m really looking forward to getting started on a Moto2 bike,” Skinner said. “To be wildcarding at the British Grand Prix and do my first Moto2 round at home, it’ll be really cool to race in front of my home crowd. I want to thank Darren [Fry] and Nigel [Snook] at FS-3, and John and Eitan for all making it happen.

“It’s an awesome opportunity for me and something that I’ve wanted to do since forever. Riding in Grand Prix has been my goal and always been my aim since I started riding as a kid so to finally get to do two wildcards – it’s awesome! I’m under no illusion that it’ll be a massive learning curve but I’m looking forward to the challenge!”

Skinner is managed by American Racing team Owner, Eitan Butbul, and Racing Director, John Hopkins. Both hope that these wildcard outings can lead to a full-time move into the Moto2 World Championship in 2023.

“We started out managing Rory since the end of 2020 and last year there weren’t any spots available at world level here, while there was a great opportunity to continue in BSB with FS-3,” Butbul said. “They’ve given him a superb package allowing him to showcase just what a talent he is, so we’re sure he can do the same at Grand Prix level with the right opportunity over a season.

“Everyone’s heard us talk about the difficulties American riders are faced with in trying to make it to the MotoGP World Championship paddock, and in respect to jumping across to Moto2 directly, British riders face a similar problem at the moment.

Rory Skinner celebrates securing the British Supersport crown in 2020

“Plus, to have any hope of Americans and British riders in MotoGP, they’ll most likely need to come through Moto2 first. But usually, the teams in Moto2 look for someone already inside the paddock, so that’s why we wanted to use our own team and resources to give him a shot at showing the World Championship paddock what he’s capable of with two wildcard appearances this year.

“He’s of the right age now, has enough experience and success behind him to make the jump. So, we’re very excited to see what he’s able to do and we, as a team, relish the challenge of helping riders move forward in their careers in one of the toughest classes on the planet.”

Since joining the BSB class with FS-3, Skinner has amassed six podiums and 13 top six results onboard his Kawasaki ZX-10RR. His podiums at Knockhill in 2021 came at only his second Superbike event.

“Supporting young talent is in the DNA of our team. Taking on Rory for two years to develop his skills on a Superbike in the British Championship was a perfect fit for us,” FS-3 Team Principal, Snook added. “We got to know Rory during his time in the British Talent Cup and a dominant year in the British Supersport Championship, so we always knew that his goal was to get back to the MotoGP paddock and we’ve been working closely with John Hopkins and American Racing to help make that happen.

“Rory has impressed many people with the way he’s got to grips with the ZX-10RR. He has become a regular on the podium and is currently lying fourth in the BSB championship standings, up against some very experienced riders.

“The fact that Rory is now on the verge of his first Grand Prix start demonstrates the strength of our Championship and our team. We are wishing Rory well and expect him to surprise a few people!”

Josh Close

By Josh Close

Sports Reporter and fan of all things motorsport.