American Racing is delighted to announce that Rory Skinner will join them for two Moto2 World Championship wildcard appearances at the British and Austrian Grands Prix.
Skinner, 20, joins the team from Bennetts British Superbike Championship, where he is currently fourth in the standings, with multiple podium finishes to his name in the class. The Scottish rider is hailed as one of the UK’s brightest young talents having previously competed and won in Red Bull Rookies, British Talent Cup and British Supersport, clinching the British Talent Cup championship in 2018 before going on to take the British Supersport title in 2020 to become the series’ youngest ever champion.
Team Owner Eitan Butbul and Racing Director John Hopkins are also personal management to Skinner and recognise that while the primary aim for the team is to bring American talent into the World Championship, they can also assist British talent looking to make the leap into the Grand Prix paddock. The duo believes a rider of Rory’s talent and potential deserves to showcase his skills on the world stage and fielding him via wildcard appearances will give him the best opportunity to secure a permanent ride for next season, or in the near future.
Rory Skinner said: “I’m really looking forward to getting started on a Moto2 bike. To be wildcarding at the British Grand Prix and do my first Moto2 round at home, it’ll be really cool to race in front of my home crowd. I want to thank Darren and Nigel at FS-3, and John and Eitan for all making it happen. It’s an awesome opportunity for me and something that I’ve wanted to do since forever. Riding in Grand Prix has been my goal and always been my aim since I started riding as a kid so to finally get to do two wildcards – it’s awesome!
“It wasn’t anything set in stone previously. John messaged me a few weeks ago and asked if I wanted to do it and I bit his hand off at the opportunity! He and Eitan have always known that my intentions would be to go to Grands Prix and be in the paddock there, it’s where I spent a lot of my time in Red Bull Rookies. Also, racing in CEV, I’ve ridden with a lot of the guys who are riding there at the minute so I’m looking forward to battling again with familiar faces. I’m under no illusion that it’ll be a massive learning curve but I’m looking forward to the challenge!”
Eitan Butbul, American Racing Team Owner, added: “We started out managing Rory since the end of 2020 and last year there weren’t any spots available at world level here, while there was a great opportunity to continue in BSB with FS-3. They’ve given him a superb package allowing him to showcase just what a talent he is, so we’re sure he can do the same at Grand Prix level with the right opportunity over a season.
“Everyone’s heard us talk about the difficulties American riders are faced with in trying to make it to the MotoGP World Championship paddock, and in respect to jumping across to Moto2 directly, British riders face a similar problem at the moment. Plus, to have any hope of Americans and British riders in MotoGP, they’ll most likely need to come through Moto2 first. But usually the teams in Moto2 look for someone already inside the paddock, so that’s why we wanted to use our own team and resources to give him a shot at showing the world championship paddock what he’s capable of with two wildcard appearances this year. He’s of the right age now, has enough experience and success behind him to make the jump. So we’re very excited to see what he’s able to do and we, as a team, relish the challenge of helping riders move forward in their careers in one of the toughest classes on the planet. We want to give a huge thanks to the FS-3 team for allowing him to take this opportunity.”
Nigel Snook, Cheshire Mouldings FS-3 Racing Kawasaki Team Principal added: “Supporting young talent is in the DNA of our team. Taking on Rory for two years to develop his skills on a superbike in the British championship was a perfect fit for us. We got to know Rory during his time in the British Talent Cup and a dominant year in the British Supersport Championship, so we always knew that his goal was to get back to the MotoGP paddock and we’ve been working closely with John Hopkins and American Racing to help make that happen.
“Rory has impressed many people with the way he’s got to grips with the Kawasaki ZX-10RR. He has become a regular on the podium and is currently lying fourth in the BSB championship standings, up against some very experienced riders. The fact that Rory is now on the verge of his first Grand Prix start demonstrates the strength of our Championship and our team. We are wishing Rory well and expect him to surprise a few people!”
The British Grand Prix takes place at Silverstone between 5-7 August.