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31 riders confirmed for MCE British Superbike opener at Brands Hatch

Tuesday, April 01 2014

The MCE Insurance British Superbike Championship has announced a superb entry of 31 riders representing eight nationalities for the opening round of the season at Brands Hatch this Easter weekend (18/19/20/21 April).

The definitive line-up, which includes 30 season-long entries and 21 individual teams representing six different manufacturers, was confirmed ahead of Tuesday's official test at Donington Park. The final place on the grid at Brands Hatch will be taken by wildcard and Isle of Man TT winner Michael Dunlop.

Bathams BMW became the final team to announce their rider pairing yesterday (Monday), as they confirmed former title runner-up Michael Rutter and Swiss rider Patric Muff. They'll be taking part in today's group test at Donington, before all the teams head to Snetterton's 300 circuit for a further two day official test next week (8/9 April), which is free of charge for spectators.

Fresh new look for MCE BSB in 2014

The 2014 season has seen the biggest shake-up of teams and rider combinations in years, yet the strength in depth is as impressive as ever - the Brands Hatch grid will feature nine MCE BSB race winners and two triple champions: Shane Byrne and Ryuichi Kiyonari. Byrne remains with Rapid Solicitors Kawasaki and the most successful rider in the championship history is desperate to claim an unprecedented fourth crown after narrowly missing out to Alex Lowes at the final round last year. The team have strengthened their line up with reigning Motorpoint British Supersport champion Stuart Easton, who has made a remarkable comeback from devastating injuries sustained at the North West 200 in 2011.

Ready to challenge Byrne is returning Californian mega star John Hopkins. The former MotoGP frontrunner was part of the closest MCE BSB title race in history in 2011 and lost out to Tommy Hill by just 0.006 seconds in the final race. He has unfinished business in the championship and is targetting the title with Tyco Suzuki. Former champions Milwaukee Yamaha meanwhile have secured the services of two-time MCE BSB runner-up Josh Brookes and upcoming Brit Tommy Bridewell, and both riders looked supremely quick during their pre-season test programme in Spain.

New and fresh line ups for 2014 include Lloyds British GBmoto Racing Kawasaki, who have signed 2009 runner-up James Ellison and fans' favourite Chris 'Stalker' Walker for their campaign, whilst triple champion Ryuichi Kiyonari made a surprise move to the Buildbase BMW team during the winter, alongside Showdown contender James Westmoreland. Record-breaking TT race winner Ian Hutchinson is ready to prove his mettle on the short circuits with the new FFX Yamaha team, whilst Harry Hartley becomes the youngest ever MCE BSB contender at the age of just 17.

Championship partnerships and TV coverage extended

MCE Insurance continue their five-year title sponsorship into the 2014 season, making it the longest continuous partnership of its kind in motorcycle racing history, whilst the championship continues long term associations with prestigious brands such as Pirelli, Nissan, Monster Energy, Motorpoint, Stena Line and STIHL. 

The championship's television coverage will also be enhanced this season with the Eurosport Group extending their deal to the end of the 2020 season. The new agreement increases live coverage of the premier and support classes in the UK, which extends to Saturday's qualifying sessions, which will see the MCE BSB Datatag Extreme qualifying and the Motorpoint British Supersport sprint race broadcast live and in HD. The championship will also continue to feature prominently free to air on ITV4, with an hour long highlights show every Wednesday evening post event.

Series Director Stuart Higgs said: "This season has the hallmarks of being one of the biggest and best in the championship's history, featuring a permanent entry of 30 riders bolstered with wild card entries at certain events with TT race winner Michael Dunlop and also with World Endurance champion Julien Da Costa. The rider and team movement over the winter has really given a new vibe to the series with eleven new riders moving into the Superbike class and a further eleven riders changing teams ahead of the new season. The 2014 grid also features seven new teams which without doubt shows the continued growth of the championship which provides such compelling entertainment for trackside fans and a global television audience."

This year's MCE Insurance British Superbike Championship will again comprise of 26 races across 12 rounds, with the season commencing at Brands Hatch on Easter weekend (18-21 April) and concluding on the majestic Grand Prix circuit at the same venue on 17-19 October.

Advance weekend tickets for the season opener at Brands Hatch, valid for all four days, cost £33 online here. Children under 13 go free.

 2014 MCE Insurance British Superbike Championship entry list:

3

Josh Brookes

Australia

Milwaukee Yamaha

4

Dan Linfoot

United Kingdom

Quattro Plant Kawasaki

5

Stuart Easton

United Kingdom

Rapid Solicitors Kawasaki

6

Simon Andrews

United Kingdom

RAF Reserves Honda

7

Barry Burrell

United Kingdom

Team WD-40 Kawasaki

8

Ian Hutchinson

United Kingdom

FFX Yamaha

9

Chris Walker

United Kingdom

Lloyds British GBmoto Kawasaki

10

Jon Kirkham

United Kingdom

Tsingtao WK Kawasaki

11

Michael Rutter

United Kingdom

Bathams BMW

12

Josh Waters

Australia

Tyco Suzuki

15

Ben Wilson

United Kingdom

Gearlink Kawasaki

20

Jenny Tinmouth

United Kingdom

TWR Honda

21

John Hopkins

USA

Tyco Suzuki

23

Ryuichi Kiyonari

Japan

Buildbase BMW

24

Patric Muff

Switzerland

Bathams BMW

27

James Westmoreland

United Kingdom

Buildbase BMW

33

Michael Dunlop*

United Kingdom

Buildbase BMW

35

Mitchell Carr

Australia

Anvil Hire TAG Racing Kawasaki

39

Lee Costello

United Kingdom

Halsall Racing Kawasaki

40

Martin Jessopp

United Kingdom

RidersMotorcycles BMW

43

Howie Mainwaring

United Kingdom

Quattro Plant Kawasaki

45

Rhalf Lo Turco

Brazil

SBK City Racing Kawasaki

46

Tommy Bridewell

United Kingdom

Milwaukee Yamaha

47

Richard Cooper

United Kingdom

Anvil Hire TAG Racing Kawasaki

50

Harry Hartley

United Kingdom

Halsall Racing Kawasaki

55

Peter Baker

United Kingdom

Morello Services PBR Kawasaki

64

Aaron Zanotti

United Kingdom

GGH/STEL Suzuki

67

Shane Byrne

United Kingdom

Rapid Solicitors Kawasaki

77

James Ellison

United Kingdom

Lloyds British GBmoto Kawasaki

86

Julien Da Costa*

France

Honda Racing

96

Jakub Smrz

Czech Republic

Millsport Ducati

303

Keith Farmer

United Kingdom

PR Racing Kawasaki


* Denotes wildcard - will appear at selected events only

2014 MCE Insurance British Superbike Championship calendar:

Main season:

Round 1   18/19/20/21 April                  Brands Hatch Indy*
Round 2   3/4/5 May                             Oulton Park *
Round 3   13/14/15 June                       Snetterton 300
Round 4   27/28/29 June                       Knockhill
Round 5   18/19/20 July                        Brands Hatch GP
Round 6   1/2/3 August                         Thruxton
Round 7   8/9/10 August                       Oulton Park (triple header)
Round 8   23/24/25 August                   Cadwell Park *
Round 9   5/6/7 September                   Donington Park GP

Showdown:

Round 10 19/20/21 September             Assen
Round 11 3/4/5 October                       Silverstone GP
Round 12 17/18/19 October                  Brands Hatch GP (triple header)

* denotes Bank Holiday weekend