Dorna, the company behind MotoGP, is dumping its much vaunted British Talent Cup for 2020, but will continue to support an expanded series of the same name, to be largely run at British Superbike Championship races.
Run along the lines of the hugely successful Asia Talent Cup (ATC), which has been a breeding ground for young riders moving into the Moto3 world championship since 2014, the BTC was introduced last year and saw 23 individually selected riders given an expenses paid ride in the championship.
While all previous ATC champions have been moved up the ladder as part of Dorna’s Road To MotoGP programme, controversially the inaugural winner of the British series, 16-year-old Rory Skinner, found himself abandoned despite his title success. Now, at the end of this, the second season, the series name will continue, but as a replacement to British championship Motostar series.
According to co-promoters Dorna and MSVR, the company behind the British Superbike Championship, the cup is being expanded. Where the current series is by invitation only (after a try out day) and at the expense of the promoters, the new championship will follow the traditional format of riders and teams entering their own machines, at their own cost. The bikes will be identical Honda NSF250R racers, and all but one round will be held alongside the British championship – the exception being the round supporting the British Grand Prix at Silverstone.
The new series will replace the current British championship and will be open to riders aged between 12 and 17. It is a similar format to the European Talent Cup, which runs alongside the Spanish CEV championship, and will continue to be supported by Dorna, who will promote it through their media channels and provide rider coaching at all races.
Dorna is also offering prizes in the form of two places in the try outs for the Red Bull MotoGP Rookies Cup, with the star prize of a full season in the Junior World Championship for one rider – although the wording of Dorna’s statement suggests that a rider will be selected for this prize, meaning that winning the series still remains no guarantee for continued support.
“This evolution of the British Talent Cup is a good and logical step forward for prototype racing in the UK for the next three years,” says British superbike boss Stuart Higgs, pictured above with MotoGP supremo Carmelo Ezpeleta. “To have a single British championship on proven, high quality, affordable and equal machinery, with a guaranteed follow through to the FIM CEV Moto3 Junior World Championship, represents the best way for our partners Dorna to find the UK’s fastest and freshest potential MotoGP talent.”
Ezpeleta added: “We’re proud to announce that the British Talent Cup will expand in the coming years, taking on new importance in the UK domestic racing scene and the Road to MotoGP. The British Isles are an important part of both the history and future of our sport and it’s vital that young, homegrown talent has a path to the world championship – so we’re delighted to be able to broaden this collaboration with MSVR and see the British Talent Cup grow.”
There will be two BTC races on each race weekend, with many taking place on traditional British circuits like Knockhill, Oulton Park and Thruxton, and the series will be open to youngsters of all nationalities, although only those from the British Isles will be eligible to be selected for the end of season prizes.