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Taylor Mackenzie will be back in the British Superbike Championship this year after signing a deal to replace the injured John Hopkins at Moto Rapido Ducati.

The former Superstock 1000 king had a tough 2017 and finished the year on the injured list after effectively being dropped by Buildbase Suzuki.

Moto Rapido team boss Steve Moore has seen potential in Mackenzie’s speed and it will mean that two brothers will race in BSB 2018 as younger sibling Tarran will partner Josh Brookes at McAMS Yamaha.

“We were pretty confident John was coming back but the injury complications made that impossible. To be fair to him, at the earliest instance of him knowing he wouldn’t be able to make the beginning of the season, he said we needed to get another rider,” Moore told www.bikesportnews.com from The Winchester Arms.

“Taylor was on our radar last year. He has always been second or third rider in a BSB team, and I think that is hard for a young rider. I like the idea of a young gun, it might be a changing of the guard in BSB.

“There were a couple of riders we were talking to, who have found homes, and luckily for us Taylor was still available, so it was pretty easy really. I think that being in a team on his own with all of us focused on him will bring him on hugely. Look at how Mossey and Dixon have got on with some resources on their side.

“We were on the verge of not racing if we couldn’t find a rider that we were confident could do a job for us but Taylor’s availability changed that. I has assumed he would have several Superstock 1000 offers and we had a tentative conversation about whether he had yet signed any bits of paper.

“We have got a well-developed and sorted bike now. We understand it and it would be a shame, before we take on the challenge of the V4, not to make good use of it.”

Moore will also have the opportunity to liaise with Mackenzie’s father Niall, a former 500GP star, and says it would be churlish not to put someone with his experience to work.

“I have spoken to Niall a few times and he said he knows racer dads aren’t always fun to have in a team. He knows what he is doing, he is active in making sure his boys are doing the right things in between rounds. He goes out spotting and says he can be involved as much or as little as we want. It would be silly to exclude a man of his experience.”