Belfast Telegraph

Alastair Seeley tops list of big names on the move

By Paul Lindsay

The end of season motorcycling grapevine is currently in full swing with the majority of local teams and riders capturing the imaginations of fans on social media and global internet forums.

Who is going where, and who is going nowhere, with Alastair Seeley one big name possibly on the move.

With newly crowned World Superbike champion Jonathan Rea all tucked and comfy in his new role with Kawasaki, the only news surrounding the Isle of Man based Ballyclare lad is what records he can break during the final round this weekend in Qatar.

Rea's season can become the best ever in terms of outright points if he gathers 25 or more over the two 17-lap Losail races on Sunday. He currently has 528 points, while all-time record holder Colin Edwards set a total of 552 back in the 2002 season.

Rea's season has been quite remarkable, winning 14 races and taking 22 podiums from the 24 races so far. One more win this weekend would take his career total to 30.

With Eugene Laverty set to stay with the Aspar team in MotoGP for a second season, despite the move to Ducati power for 2016, the rest of the hot gossip is coming out of the British Superbike and international road racing paddocks.

In British Superbike, leading Ulsterman Michael Laverty - brother of Eugene - has made his intentions clear by stating his desire to spend a second season with Tyco BMW.

The Toomebridge lad has had a full season getting comfortable and initiating set-up changes on the Moneymore team's BMW Motorrad back machinery, so a second season would seem a sensible option.

Dubliner Jack Kennedy has already announced a deal that will see him remain in the Team WD40 set-up in BSB next year, but all the hot news seems to be surrounding Glenn Irwin.

The Carrickfergus racer refutes recent claims that he is set to join Tyco BMW, but did say: "Part of me would still like to win the British Supersport Championship, but I will one million per cent be racing a Superbike next season."

Irwin has been strongly linked to Paul Bird's PBM Kawasaki team, but rumour has it the 25-year-old is reluctant to sign anything until Bird has decided on what brand of machinery he will run.

Kawasaki is still an option for Bird, but protracted discussions with Ducati have also taken place.

Yamaha is also on the hunt for a leading team to replace their current Milwaukee backed championship effort in 2015 with Josh Brookes.

There is also talk of a BMW option for Irwin but, as he previously explained, not at TAS Racing.

Two other Country Antrim riders still uncertain of their immediate futures are that man Seeley and Andy Reid.

Seeley missed out on the British Superstock title this season with Tyco BMW and with news of a high profile signing on the horizon, one wonders if the 15-time NW200 winner could be overlooked.

Rumour has it Seeley has been talking to the management at Keith Flint's TTC Yamaha team about a return to the Supersport class in 2016, but his friend and training partner Reid is hoping to stay put at TTC, despite currently being out injured.

Josh Elliott, the 2015 British Superstock champion, is another on the hunt for a Superbike ride for 2016 and in road racing it's looking more likely that fellow Fermanagh racer Lee Johnston will stay put at East Coast Racing.

And finally, millionaire businessman Tim Martin could well make a return to the BSB paddock next term.

The Mar-Train Racing team owner currently runs Yamaha UK's efforts on the roads with Dean Harrison, but made a trip to Silverstone recently.

The Temple man is a personal sponsor of Stuart Easton, who he took to British Supersport success in 2013, and with the little Scottish ace set to join former champion Tommy Hill's Yamaha UK backed BSB team in 2016, one wonders could we see a joint venture between Hill and Martin next season?

All interesting stuff with a few twists and turns ahead.

Belfast Telegraph


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