These young rac­ers on the GP scene are hop­ing to be Bri­tain’s next big thing

Motorcycle News (UK) - - Best Brit Racers - By Oli Rushby and Si­mon Pat­ter­son MCN SPORT RE­PORTERS

Bri­tish mo­tor­cy­cle rac­ing is fly­ing high right now, with some se­ri­ous tal­ent con­test­ing the Mo­togp world ti­tle. But there are plenty of young guns work­ing through the ranks who look set to carry on where Cal and Co leave off… One such tal­ent is 15-year-old Scots­man Rory Skin­ner. He first came to light in 2014 when he blitzed the op­po­si­tion in the Aprilia Su­per­teens class to be­come cham­pion of a se­ries which kick­started the ca­reers of rid­ers such as Casey Stoner, Cal Crutchlow and Bradley Smith.

His Su­per­teens achieve­ment was enough to draw at­ten­tion from the Rac­ing Steps Foun­da­tion, who helped fund his en­try into the RFME Span­ish Cup Moto3 class for 2015 – the level be­low the CEV Moto3/ju­nior World Cham­pi­onship. He also se­cured a spot to com­pete in Mo­togp’s feeder cat­e­gory, the Red Bull Rook­ies Cup.

Skin­ner spent most of the 2015 sea­son fa­mil­iaris­ing him­self with the more pow­er­ful Mo­to3spec KTM and Euro­pean cir­cuits, but af­ter a strong week­end at Aragon in the Span­ish Cup, the young­ster went on to show real form when re­turn­ing to the cir­cuit for the fi­nal round of the Red Bull Rook­ies. Se­cur­ing pole po­si­tion for the week­end’s two races, he then took two podium fin­ishes and demon­strated stun­ning race-craft, hav­ing to fend off ag­gres­sive at­tacks from older, more ex­pe­ri­enced rac­ers.

“The ul­ti­mate goal for me is to be world cham­pion and I’m not go­ing to stop un­til I achieve that,” says Skin­ner, who is now rac­ing in the Ju­nior World Cham­pi­onship. “I be­lieve I’m on the right track at the mo­ment and I’ll keep work­ing hard un­til I achieve that goal.”

Skin­ner’s 2016 sea­son didn’t get off to the best of starts as he broke his wrist high­sid­ing out of a podium spot in the open­ing round of the Ju­nior World Cham­pi­onship at Va­len­cia. While bad luck would see Skin­ner strug­gle for the rest of the sea­son in the JWC, the Scot took two podi­ums on his way to sixth in the Red Bull Rook­ies se­ries.

Cur­rent Mo­togp rules state rid­ers have to be 16 to race in Moto3 un­less they win the Ju­nior World Cham­pi­onship the year be­fore. Hav­ing strug­gled to fight back af­ter the in­jury de­spite a strong ninth place in the fi­nal race at Va­len­cia, Skin­ner is fac­ing an­other sea­son in Spain be­fore he can step up to Grand Prix level. But that’s not some­thing that both­ers the young up­start.

“Be­ing in the Ju­nior se­ries for an ex­tra year isn’t a bad thing at all. It’s bet­ter if you can go into Moto3 on a fast bike once you’ve won this se­ries rather than go­ing in with a lesser team. If you’re in the Ju­nior cham­pi­onship for two years and con­sis­tently run­ning at the front it can do no harm. Fabio Quar­tararo won this se­ries and then went to GPS on a fac­tory Honda!”

How­ever, Skin­ner’s as­pi­ra­tions go be­yond get­ting a good seat in Moto3. Hav­ing seen his idol, Marc Mar­quez, rise through the ranks to be­come Mo­togp world cham­pion by the age of 20, Skin­ner is keen to fol­low the Spa­niard’s path.

“With so many young rid­ers com­ing through, you have to move up and progress quickly. Ideally, I want to be rac­ing in Mo­togp by the time I’m 20 years old, but it’s some­thing you’ve got to work hard for and the next three or four years are go­ing to be cru­cial to this.”

2015: Skin­ner took pole and a podium fin­ish in both Red Bull Rookie races at Aragon

2016: Skin­ner on the Aragon Red Bull Rook­ies podium again, with Aleix Viu and Kaito Toba

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