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2023 BSB | BSN's £6 Top 6 'job on the line' wager

Kyle Ryde, LAMI OMG Racing, yamaha R1

After months of anticipation, the 2023 British Superbike Championship is finally upon us.

As ever, the new season brings with it the usual posturing and predictions from riders, teams, fans and journalists explaining how this year's title race will play out... all with a surprising certainty considering it hasn't even happened yet.

For sure, peering into the BSB crystal ball this year has been clouded by the outcome of the 2022 BSB campaign since anyone who tipped Bradley Ray as their top pick twelve months ago must have been some kind of wizard...


Alas, there are no wizards among the BSN staff but that hasn't stopped us from playing Mystic Meg and having a go at predicting which riders we think will form the 2023 BSB Top 6 come the final round at Brands Hatch in October.

The stakes are high... a whole £6 is on the line here. Well, that and our jobs. Our pride. Our dignity. Our thumbs. We work hard, we play hard here at BSN...

2023 British Superbike Championship, BSB Test Silverstone, Northants, 29th March 2023. Tommy Bridewell, GBR, PBM Ducati, Ducati Panigale V4R

Ollie Barstow

1 - Tommy Bridewell (BeerMonster Ducati)

2 - Jason O’Halloran (McAMS Yamaha)

3 - Kyle Ryde (LAMI OMG Yamaha)

4 - Glenn Irwin (BeerMonster Ducati)

5 - Andrew Irwin (Honda Racing)

6 - Lee Jackson (FS-3 Kawasaki)

With a list of riders capable of winning races in BSB as long as my arm, neck, head and Storm Stacey’s top hat, whittling it down to a top six in some semblance of order is very difficult.


However, having originally chosen Jason O’Halloran as my would-be title winner, I’ve instead chosen to nominate Tommy Bridewell instead. For one, it would be a wonderful story if Tommy (or Jason, for that matter) could finally walk away with the elusive crown and I have a sneaking suspicion Paul Bird Motorsport - after a tough 2022 - have something special up its sleeve to have attracted Bridewell and Glenn Irwin for 2023…

So Bridewell the champion, O’Halloran runner-up and Kyle Ryde in third. His pace in testing suggests he is ready to fill the big boots of OMG Yamaha’s departed champion Bradley Ray, it just remains to be seen if he has cured his tendency to drop back in races.

Next up, the brothers Irwin, Glenn ahead of Andrew. Glenn is clearly looking for the bike that will get him that title so could as easily be up there in first instead of Bridewell, while Andrew too comes across as a rider who feels he has a great chance back with Honda and doesn’t want to let it slip.

And finally, Lee Jackson’s steadfast consistency might well be the difference against rivals, but truthfully I could have easily placed Peter Hickman, Josh Brookes, Leon Haslam, Danny Buchan, Christian Iddon or maybe even Danny Kent. My top rookie pick is (probably controversially) Charlie Nesbitt.

2023 British Superbike Championship, BSB Test Silverstone, Northants, 29th March 2023. Jason O’Halloran, AUS, McAms Yamaha, Yamaha YZF-R1

Robin Miller

1 - Jason O’Halloran (McAMS Yamaha)

2 - Glenn Irwin (BeerMonster Ducati)

3 - Kyle Ryde (LAMI OMG Yamaha)

4 - Peter Hickman (FHO BMW)

5 - Tommy Bridewell (BeerMonster Ducati)

6 - Andrew Irwin (Honda Racing)

On paper, Paul Bird’s BeerMonster Ducati Panigale V4 Rs should be unstoppable. The team has the right riders and the right bikes… albeit at circuits where having upwards of 220mph on tap allows them to stretch those legs. But this is BSB, so they won’t, which is why I’ve gone for Jason O’Halloran as my top pick.

I choose him for the illogical reason that it’s his turn. He’s suffered more bad luck than most but he’s a consistently good rider and the well-proven Yamaha is a good bike for BSB.

Glenn Irwin is an outstanding rider on all circuits and is my tip for a confidence-boosting win at Silverstone on the updated Ducati, which he should do after his hat trick on the Honda last yeat.

I really want Kyle Ryde to win although finishing ahead of the likes of Tommy Bridewell  and Christian Iddon, both on Ducatis, is a big ask, while I’ve chosen Peter Hickman because he’s the best all rounder - not that it matters too much - by a country mile. After all, if anyone can make the BMW perform, then it is him.

I’ve picked Tommy Bridewell because he’s a proper trier on what should be one of the best bikes and Andrew Irwin, because if BSB is an aggressive series, which it is, then he is capable of a knockout. Reluctantly, I’ve had to leave out Lee Bob Jackson who consistently surprises us all.

2023 British Superbike Championship, BSB Test Silverstone, Northants, 29th March 2023. Jason O’Halloran, AUS, McAms Yamaha, Yamaha YZF-R1

Phil Wain

1 - Jason O’Halloran (McAMS Yamaha)

2 - Tommy Bridewell (BeerMonster Ducati)

5 - Glenn Irwin (BeerMonster Ducati)

4 - Christian Iddon (Oxford Products Racing Ducati)

5 - Kyle Ryde (LAMI OMG Racing Yamaha)

6 - Josh Brookes (FHO Racing BMW)

This is something I bombed at last year; I didn’t predict the champion and I only got three of the eight Showdown contenders right – so much for being ‘in the know’!! With only six riders to choose for the Showdown, it’s even harder this time around and I feel bad for leaving out Lee Jackson, Andrew Irwin, Danny Buchan, Peter Hickman and Leon Haslam but a number of my chosen riders are fired up and have a point to prove.

The combination of O’Halloran and the McAMS Yamaha speaks for itself and surely it’s got to be third time lucky for the Australian in terms of lifting the title? He’s found luck in short supply when it’s mattered most but 2023 is finally going to be his year.

Iddon has enjoyed his best times in BSB on a Ducati, finishing third in 2020 and fourth in 2021 and after an injury-ravaged 2022, he’ll be determined as anyone else on the grid. Being back on the Panigale is sure to see him well to the fore once more and the same applies to Bridewell and Irwin.

The latter has three years already under his belt with Paul Bird’s team, from 2016-18, and although it’s Bridewell’s first year, he knows the bike inside out and is, arguably, the most consistent rider in the field having finished in the top three of the championship in three of the last four years. And after his worst season ever, Bird will leave no stone unturned to ensure his riders have all the tools for the job.

Brookes, meanwhile, had a year to forget last year finishing a dismal 14th overall with just three top six finishes to his name. There’s no way he’s going to have another year like that although with no dry pre-season testing, only time will tell if he’ll really click with the BMW. As the saying goes though, form is temporary and class is permanent so I expect the Australian to be back to his best.

As for Kyle Ryde, he’s been fast in testing and made the Showdown last year so he’s sure to reap the benefits of staying with last year’s title-winning team. He’ll win races but I don’t think he’ll have enough to win the title.

2023 British Superbike Championship, BSB Test Silverstone, Northants, 28th March 2023. Kyle Ryde, GBR, OMG Racing Yamaha, Yamaha YZF-R1

Christina Bulpett

1 - Kyle Ryde (LAMI OMG Yamaha)

2 - Jason O’Halloran (McAMS Yamaha)

3 - Leon Haslam (ROKiT BMW)

4 - Glenn Irwin (BeerMonster Ducati)

5 - Josh Brookes (FHO BMW)

6 - Tommy Bridewell (BeerMonster Ducati)

It’s always difficult predicting the top positions in a championship as close as BSB, and I already feel guilty for the ones I’ve left out after the potential on show across testing. Saying that, OMG Yamaha has a strong case for their title defence with Kyle Ryde. 

With confidence both in himself, the R1 and the team growing across the past year, he’s returning for another season with a proven and familiar package. He’s been consistently strong in preseason and frequently kept Bradley Ray on his toes in 2022. 

To bring home the double for OMG, however, he’s going to need to keep Jason O’Halloran at bay once again. The McAMS machine is always a front runner and the Australian has more than proved his pedigree as a race winner and championship contender in recent years, he just needs to tie it all together. Arguably something he would have done already if it weren’t for the showdown so could this be the year? 

Glenn Irwin and Tommy Bridewell are going to push each other all the way on the Beermonster Ducati and both feel like they’re out to impress with points to prove. If PBM get the Panigale dialled in then BSB could be echoing the world championships by turning red. 

With such a late confirmation, Leon Haslam is the unknown quantity on the BMW but as a former champion you can just never rule him out - I don’t know if it’s more determination or stubbornness! - but that stands for Josh Brookes too. Reinvigorated after the move to FHO and their backing to return to the IOM, the double champion will be hoping to wipe out 2022’s woes with a strong showing from first lights out at Silverstone.

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