With the 2021 British Superbike season fast approaching, the rider line-up is shaping up to be one of the most exciting in recent memory.

With veteran riders like 2020 champion Josh Brookes, fellow Australian Jason O'Hallaran, Tommy Bridewell, and Glenn Irwin all returning to the grid, it is perhaps how the continued development of riders such as Tarran Mackenzie, Bradley Ray and Rory Skinner will play out that is the most intriguing story to follow. 

WorldSBK has been the progression route for most BSB riders of late such as Alex Lowes in 2014, Leon Haslam, and even Scott Redding last season after his move from MotoGP to BSB in 2019. Only Jake Dixon has moved to the Grand Prix paddock in Moto2 within the last decade. 

However, the three riders alluded to above all have the talent to make an impression on the world stage and have gathered first-hand experience already. 

Skinner is the youngest and perhaps the most likely to reach the Grand Prix paddock based on this. The Scot competed in the Red Bull Rookies Cup series from 2015 until the end of 2017. 

Without a ride in 2018, Skinner joined the British Talent Cup where he became the inaugural series champion. His most impressive racing season was his last, where he utterly dominated the competition taking ten wins out of the twelve races to become British Supersport champion.

Skinner will be riding for the FS-3 Kawasaki team in 2020, and could be the next rider to follow Jake Dixon's path from BSB to Moto2.

Given the progression route it usually takes to compete in MotoGP, it is highly unlikely a rider could move directly from BSB to the premier class, thus making Moto2 a more realistic option. 

At only 19 years-old, time is on his side to certainly reach Moto2 if not MotoGP. The same might be more of a challenge for Mackenzie and Ray, who are 25 and 23 years-old respectively. 

Ray burst onto the scene in 2018 where he took a dominating double at Donington Park to open the 2018 British Superbike season. However, his championship challenge slowly faded as the year went on, eventually finishing sixth. 2019 was a difficult year with no wins and often finishing outside the top five. 

Ray's performances in 2018 were so good that his team at the time Suzuki brought him over to compete at the Suzuka 8 hours, along with the opportunity to test a MotoGP bike in Malaysia. 

Like Skinner, Ray has competed in the Red Bull Rookies Cup and also had a wild card appearance in Moto2 (2015).

If Ray can produce the form he has flashed on various occasions on a more consistent basis in 2021 with BMW and the Rich Energy Racing Team, then moving to World Superbikes could certainly be on the cards. 

Mackenzie is the rider who is in the best position to succeed in BSB given his current team. The McAMS Yamaha team has been a consistent challenger for several seasons. 

Mackenzie claimed a brilliant British Supersport title in his 2016 rookie season and looked on course to retain the title in 2017 where he won the first five consecutive rounds. However, the Brit was drafted in to replace Danny Kent from round five onwards of the 2017 Moto2 campaign. 

It was an impressive showing from Mackenzie given the huge step-up that was needed. Since the end of that season, Mackenzie has been with the McAMS Yamaha team where he has gotten better each year. 

A maiden win in 2019, followed by another two last season and multiple podiums make Mackenzie a firm title favorite heading into 2021. 

If the Yamaha rider can put a championship winning season together given the Japanese manufacturer's involvement in WorldSBK, there is a distinct possibility Mackenzie could be the first of the three to make the move. 

 

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