Reigning National Pirelli Superstock 1000 champion Taylor Mackenzie has been confirmed as Sylvain Guintoli's team-mate in the MCE British Superbike championship at Bennetts Suzuki, with Richard Cooper aiming to defend the team's Superstock 1000 crown.
Mackenzie had already been announced as part of the Bennetts Suzuki rider line-up but it wasn't known whether he would be returning to BSB or defending his Superstock 1000 crown. Bennetts Suzuki have opted to promote Mackenzie to BSB while former BSB rider Cooper heads to the Superstock 1000 championship.
After a brief adventure in BSB in 2015 Mackenzie is looking forward to returning with a solid foundation of Bennetts Suzuki alongside former World Superbike champion Sylvain Guintoli.
“I'm over the moon to be stepping up to the Superbike class in 2017 with Bennetts Suzuki and Hawk Racing,” Mackenzie 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.”
Cooper, who claimed the Superstock 1000 title for the team under its former Buildbase BMW guise in 2011, will ride the all-new Suzuki GSX-R1000 and is relishing the challenge of aiming to defend the team's title which was won by Mackenzie last season.
“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,” Cooper said.
“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.”