GP2 champion Charlie Nesbitt joins VisionTrack Suzuki for 2022’s Pirelli National Superstock challenge.
21-year-old Nesbitt, who finished either first or second in every GP class race he completed last season, will run a Suzuki GSX-R1000 prepared by Hawk Racing of the coming year having got his first taste of a one-litre sportsbike during the Race of the Year at Mallory Park.
Impressed with his performance, he was signed by Hawk - the team behind the official Buildbase Suzuki squad - to contest this year’s National Superstock championship. Backing comes from VisionTrack, whose aim is to help grow and nurture the careers of young British talent.
Despite his obvious pedigree, Nesbitt is remaining pragmatic about his ambitions for the new adventure, conscious of the fact that he has to learn and adapt to the bigger bike, but confident in his own ability to challenge at the front before the end of the year.
“I couldn’t be happier with my plans for 2022,” Nesbitt confirmed. “Towards the end of last season in GP2, to be honest, I was looking at superbike and wanted to make the move, but the more I thought about it, going to superstock first is the best option for me.
“It wasn’t until the final round at Brands Hatch that Steve [Hicken - team manager] spoke to me and we discussed this opportunity. He gave me the chance to do Race of the Year at Mallory with no pressure, just to see how it went, which was great, and then we agreed to put something together this year.
“It’s a big jump from the GP2 bike to the 1000. The GP2 bike handles so well but the Suzuki does as well, but with a load more power.
"Mallory last year was my first go on a superstock bike and it was a bit of an eye opener; Mallory is a physical little circuit anyway without a long straight, and it showed me I have some things to learn and will have to adapt my riding to suit the bigger bike, such as carrying less corner speed, and working on getting the bike stood up so you can use the power to drive out of corners. But I’m looking forward to it.
“I’ve had a bit of bike time already, just to get more comfortable on it before working on setup. But if we can get a good base setting I want to be running in the top 10 from the off and then pushing for podiums and wins. It won’t be easy but for every bike racer that’s the aim, I’m looking forward to it, and I’m grateful to Steve and everyone else for the opportunity.”
“We’ve kept tabs on Charlie for a while, and he’s an obvious talent,” Hicken added. “We’ve always done our best to try and bring on younger riders and he is one of the brightest British youngsters in the paddock in my opinion. That’s also a view shared by Simon at VisionTrack, and it’s also something he’s very passionate about; you just have to look at the support he’s providing to young riders this year, in Britain and on the world stage. As a result it all came together quite easily.
“Charlie’s got limited big bike experience but he’s had some seat time on the GSX-R. We’ll get him on track a few more times before official tests start, but I think if we can get him comfortable pretty quickly then he can be a front-runner, for sure.”