Alastair Seeley has announced his full racing programme for the 2023 North West 200 with confirmation that he will ride a Ducati Panigale V2 in the Supersport class alongside his Superbike and Superstock commitments.
The Ulsterman is the most successful rider to have competed at the Northern Irish with 27 victories to his name since making his debut in 2004, including three - two in Superstock, one in Supersport - at last year’s event.
Having already announced his Superbike and Superstock plans as an extension of his full-time deal with the SYNETIQ TAS Racing BMW team in the National Superstock Championship, Seeley has now revealed he will switch to Ducati machinery in the Supersport class.
The 955cc V-Twin makes its debut in the category at the NW200 thanks to a change in the regulations to allow larger capacity sportsbikes to compete in the intermediate class, as already reflected in the WorldSSP and British Supersport Championships.
Originally earmarked for Ian Hutchinson - prior to his racing licence being revoked for 12 months - the entry is the result of a collaboration between TAS Racing and Moto Rapido, which runs the Oxford Racing Products Ducati team in the British Superbike and Supersport Championships
“Ian Hutchinson was due to ride the Ducati this year but after he suffered some health issues it made sense for me to ride it.” Seeley said.
“I haven’t ridden the bike yet but hopefully it will put a smile on my face when I do. The Ducati has been impressive in the British and World Supersport series this year and a Ducati also won at Daytona.”
“It will be a challenge as the team and myself try to get to grips with the Ducati but I am looking forward to it. The last Ducati I tried at the North West didn’t work out too well so it would be nice if it did work this time.”
With 13 of his 27 wins on the NW200 coming in the Supersport class, the Carrickfergus rider will start as one of the favourites, despite his new steed. However, he faces tough competition from the likes of Lee Johnston (Ashcourt Yamaha), Peter Hickman (PHR Triumph Daytona) and Davey Todd (Milenco by Padgetts Honda)
“I didn’t make the podium at the NW200 in 2019 but winning three races with IFS Yamaha last year showed that was a blip. Those results contributed to my getting top tier machinery this year, including a British Superstock ride. I have a great package over all the classes now, giving me a better chance to go for wins.”
The 2023 NW200 - which runs from 7th May to 13th May - will see Seeley commit to a complete change of machinery for his campaign, with his BMW M 1000 RR replacing his Yamaha R1 in the Superstock and Superbike classes, while the Ducati Panigale V2 arrives in place of the Yamaha R6.