Author: Oli Rushby Posted: 20 Dec 2015
The start of the 2016 International Road Racing season may still be some time away but the grid is starting to fill up nicely with most high-profile riders already having ink on paper.
After stunning the world with a sensational Senior TT victory this year John McGuinness will remain with Honda Racing next season. He’ll once again be joined by Manxman Conor Cummins in the Honda Europe-backed squad at the North West 200 and Isle of Man TT.
The pair will also continue their respective relationships with the Jackson Honda team. Cummins will again ride the team’s supersport and superstock machinery while McGuinness will ride the 600 and campaign his own CBR1000RR stocker.
Bruce Anstey is set to continue with the Padgetts Racing outfit after a successful run with the Batley-based team. Despite his age and laid-back attitude, Anstey was on top form at this year’s TT taking victory in the Superbike race and pushing the man to beat, Ian Hutchinson, throughout the week.
It’s unknown whether the Padgetts squad will run a second bike next year with Dan Kneen defecting to the Mar-Train Yamaha team. In turn, Dean Harrison moves on to the Silicone Engineering outfit which is yet to confirm machinery for 2016 although it’s widely expected they will continue with Kawasaki.
Having embarked on a remarkable return to form at this year’s TT Ian Hutchinson moves to the factory-backed Tyco BMW team following Paul Bird Motorsport’s decision to switch to Ducati in British Superbikes.
Hutchinson will line up alongside fans’ favourite Guy Martin in the Moneymore team although Martin’s full plans for 2016 are yet to be revealed.
Hutchinson remains with Keith Flint’s Traction Control team in the 600 class.
Michael Dunlop is the biggest name currently without a ride for 2016 but its highly expected he’ll continue with Buildbase BMW. Dunlop was spotted deep in conversation with team bosses Steve and Stuart Hicken at Motorcycle Live and the trio also engaged in meetings with potential sponsors and technical partners.
2015 proved a tough year for Dunlop with the Ballymoney-man walking out on the Milwaukee Yamaha team during TT practice week. Buildbase BMW offered the 11-time TT winner a last minute lifeline but a crash in the superbike race hampered the rest of his TT.
Bike Social understands the talks with Buildbase involve the Hawk Racing squad running a full stable of bikes for Dunlop in 2016.
Fastest ever newcomer and 131mph man Peter Hickman joins the GBmoto Kawasaki team for his 2016 roads campaign. Having taken two international wins and been close to the podium at this year’s TT the Louth-based rider is one to watch next season.
Having left the Tyco BMW team William Dunlop will line up on a CD Racing-prepared YZF-R1 in the Superbike categories and an MSS Kawasaki in superstock.
Norton will expand to a two-man line-up next season with Dave Johnson joining Cameron Donald in an all-Aussie super team. The Donington-based marque has also signed up former BSB frontrunner Glen Richards to test the SG4, which will be powered by Aprilia engines for the last time in 2016.
Lee Johnston (East Coast Racing) and James Hillier (Quattro Plant Kawasaki) will remain with their current teams for the 2016 season.
It’s expected the rest will iron itself out over the next couple of months before testing for the 2016 season gets underway.