MotoGP bosses have announced an exciting new initiative aimed at getting the next generation of British riders into world championship racing.
Kids as young as 12 are invited to apply to enter the British Talent Cup, a one-make championship that will see the country’s most promising youth competitors go head-to-head on identical Honda NSF250 race bikes.
The championship promoters, the Spanish company Dorna, also introduced a new team, called the British Talent Team, which will be used to give the best UK and Irish riders their first taste of world championship racing. The team will run established star John McPhee (pictured) in 2017, before opening its doors to the next generation of talent in coming years.
An X-Factor style selection process will begin in May, with the most promising applicants invited to audition in front of former racers Alberto Puig and Jeremy McWilliams at Silverstone in August. From there, the best of candidates will be given a ride in the free to enter British Talent Cup, which will take place at British and Spanish circuits during the 2018 season.
The purpose of the cup is to identify, coach and nurture British racing talent and to help them reach the world championship, without the need to pay for their rides. The best should then be taken to the Spanish-based Junior World Championship, before ultimately reaching Moto3 with the British Talent Team.
Speaking at the launch event in London, Puig, Dorna’s Talent Promotion Director, said: “I think it’s interesting to create these kinds of programmes in all sports, that can help young guys get into the sport and develop. Especially sports like ours, because racing is very expensive. I think they are also very welcome to everyone who can gain access to these types of series. We chose the British Isles because it has been a key part of racing history, with manufacturers and riders. We believe now that to do this here is something needed. So the purpose of the team is to give riders in the Cup a goal. The target is that, if they perform well in the Talent Cup, their final destination will be this supported Moto3 team.”
The British Talent Cup follows in the tyretracks of the successful Asia Talent Cup and is expected to be followed by a number of similar structures around the world in coming years.