Honda Racing UK has announced an exciting expansion of the team ahead of the 2022 Bennetts British Superbike Championship, announcing that their current Superstock champion Tom Neave will step up into the premier class alongside Glenn Irwin, Ryo Mizuno and Takumi Takahashi, as the Louth-based squad prepares its four-man assault on the British championship.
Running four bikes in the Superbike class is a first for the Honda team and one that shows Honda UK’s commitment to the highly competitive British championship, as well as nurturing young talent through the Honda Superbike Challenge Programme. The programme is designed to support racers competing in national championships worldwide, to take further steps in their racing careers, which for 2022 sees Neave make the next step into the Superbike class.
Havier Beltran, Team Manager, Honda Racing UK said: “I’m really pleased to see Tom move up the ranks into BSB for the 2022 season, it’s been a pleasure working with him in the Superstock class where we’ve watched him grow from his debut with the team, through to becoming the 2021 champion. It’s always great when you can support and nurture young talent into the next step of their career and it’s going to be an exciting season for him.
“I’m pleased Glenn is continuing with us. We know he has the pace to fight at the front, which he has shown in the last two seasons with the team, it’s just been bad luck that has hampered his progress as well as injury this season, but I am confident a fit Glenn Irwin can be a contender for the title. I’m also delighted to have Ryo and Takumi back with us for next year, they played a vital role for the team this season testing and developing new components and now with more track knowledge, I think we’ll see them further up the grid and fighting for the top-ten.
Soichi Yamana, Department Manager, Motorcycle Department, Motor Sports Division commented: “I’m very glad to be able to continue our Honda Superbike Challenge Program journey with Honda Racing UK in 2022. 2021 was a short and challenging season, but Glenn and Mizuno both managed to make solid progress. I’m looking forward to the team, with Tom Neave joining us in the premier class, working together and improving in 2022. Through this programme, Honda continues to discover new talent through its worldwide network and nurture the next generation of riders. I cannot wait for the new season to start.
Neil Fletcher, Head of Motorcycles, Honda UK concluded: “We’re delighted to see Tom move to his first full season in BSB following his fantastic performance this year becoming the 2021 Pirelli National Superstock champion. The move is richly deserved and highlights the virtues of the Honda Racing Superbike Challenge Programme, which is focused on nurturing young talent.
“I’m really pleased that Glenn is continuing with us next season, he undoubtedly has the pace with many race wins and podiums over the last couple of years on board the latest Fireblade and we know he’ll be fighting at the front again.
“It’s great that Ryo and Takumi are staying with us for 2022. They played pivotal roles this year supporting the team by testing and developing many new components and with all the experience they’ve gained in 2021, am sure we’ll all see them move up the grid. I look forward to working with them all again and can’t wait to see the racing start again next year!”