British Superbike riders most under pressure to perform in 2022?

Here’s a look at three BSB riders who believe are most under pressure to perform in the 2022 season.
British Superbike riders most under pressure to perform in 2022?

Here’s a look at three British Superbike riders who believe are the most under pressure to perform in 2022.

The 2021 BSB championship was one of the most competitive in recent years, and one where a first-time champion in Tarran Mackenzie was crowned. 

The McAMS Yamaha rider was involved in a four-way fight for most of the season that included team-mate Jason O’Halloran, Tommy Bridewell and Christian Iddon. 

But while there were many standout performances from both young and veteran riders, there were also some riders that didn’t quite fulfil expectations. 

With that said, here’s three riders that we at believe are most in need of a big year in 2022. 

3: Bradley Ray

The 2022 season will see the highly-rated Bradley Ray switch from BMW to Yamaha, a move that based on 2021 results could be a very good one - Yamaha won the MotoGP, WorldSBK, BSB and MotoAmerica titles.

Ray has not changed teams, rather it’s his current Rich Energy OMG Racing team that decided to change manufacturers. 

So given the swap to Yamaha and the continuity between him and the Rich Energy team, Ray should be in a good position to challenge for a first win since 2018. 

Ray has just four podiums in the last three seasons which equates to four in 75 races; clearly a number that’s not enough for a rider of his talent. 

When speaking to us ahead of last season Ray said moving to BMW was in large part due to it providing a pathway into WorldSBK, and while that’s no longer the case due to the change in manufacturers, fellow Yamaha rider Mackenzie is set for three wildcard WorldSBK rounds in 2022 ahead of a potential full-time move in 2023. 

That means should Ray put together a strong 2022 season, one where finishing in the top five should be the aim, all is not lost regarding a future in WorldSBK. 

2: Danny Kent 

Next up is former Moto3 champion Danny Kent. The British rider was set for his first full BSB season in 2021 but failed to complete the 11 rounds as he was affected by injury. Kent took part in just 14 races. 

Although Kent secured a maiden podium finish at Thruxton, the 28 year-old was also prone to crashing as he suffered six DNF’s in 14 races.

Of course, had he been fit the rest of the season then results could have improved; just take team-mate Gino Rea who failed to secure a top six in his first 18 races, but once he did it led to a run of seven in his last 14 races, including two wins at Donington Park.

But with that said, all this is dependent on Kent being retained by the Buildbase Suzuki team who are yet to confirm their 2022 rider line-up. 

1: Andrew Irwin

Coming in at number one on this list is SYNETIQ BMW rider Andrew Irwin. Since replacing an injured Shane Byrne at Ducati in 2018 Irwin has flashed serious potential but is yet to consistently put it together. 

To the Northern Irishman’s defence he’s been on three different bikes (Honda and BMW being the other two) in four years, however, 2021 was a very disappointing season given he won three races in a much shorter 2020 season - had no wins in 2021. 

Irwin, who was in his first year with BMW as was team-mate Danny Buchan, was consistently off the pace compared to Buchan who got the better of Irwin in 18 out of the 29 races. 

Irwin did manage to take one podium finish, although that’s his lowest return since 2019 which led to a 14th place finish in the championship - seven places worse off from Buchan.

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