Kyle Ryde ready for Spanish adventure as he looks to make his mark on world stage
RISING star Kyle Ryde will head for Spain this year for a full season in the CEV Moto3 Championship as he targets a slot in the top flight of motorcycle sport.
The 15-year-old former British 125cc champion has won backing from the Racing Steps Foundation (RSF) for the series, which is run by MotoGP organisers Dorna and is regarded a stepping stone to world championship level.
RSF, a private, not-for-profit fund, which supports promising young Brits in top level single-seater, kart and motorcycle racing, has handed the Jacksdale prospect a fully-financed ride with the British KRP squad.
Ryde, the youngest-ever winner of a senior British championship at the age of 14, will compete on KRP's 250cc Honda-powered Moto3 bike.
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He rode the prototype machine for the first time at the final round of the 2012 CEV Moto3 Championship at Valencia in November, when he finished ninth.
That one-off ride was part of the RSF's rigorous rider assessment process which takes into account fitness, communication and technical feedback skills, personality, mind-set and racecraft.
He replaces 2012 CEV Moto3 front-runner John McPhee, who steps up to the Moto3 world championship this year with continued funding from the RSF.
Ryde said: "I'm really grateful to have been handed this opportunity by the RSF.
"It's not easy for British riders to find the backing to make their way up the ladder in this sport. So to get this level of support is incredible.
"My mum and dad have had to work so hard to raise the money needed for me to go racing each season, so this means all their efforts – and the fantastic support we've had from some really loyal sponsors in the past – hasn't been wasted.
"Racing in Spain against some of the best riders in the world at this level, with a top team like KRP, on a really competitive bike is a dream come true.
"It takes me to the doorstep of a world championship ride.
"So now it's down to me to show everyone that their faith in me is fully justified.
"I've got a lot to learn, including getting a better understanding of the KRP bike and the new circuits I'll be racing on, so the sooner I can get started, the better."
Last season, Ryde competed on a Metmachex Honda Moto3 machine in eight out of the 12 British Motostar championship rounds in parallel with a 15-race international 125GP campaign in the MotoGP-supporting Red Bull Rookies Cup.
He finished sixth overall in the British Superbikes support series – claiming wins at Snetterton, Knockhill and Assen – and 15th in the Red Bull 125GP series, with a season-best podium finish at the British round at Silverstone.
RSF founder Graham Sharp said the Foundation had been keeping a close eye on Ryde since it widened its remit to include motorcycle racing in 2009-10.
"Kyle has a lot of talent and we've all been impressed with the way he's handled himself over the last couple of years," he said.
"To win the British 125cc Championship in 2012 at such a young age while competing in the Red Bull Rookies Cup at the same time was an outstanding achievement.
"The aim now is to give him the chance and all the support he needs to showcase that ability to the full at the next level.
"If he does that, there's every chance he'll be able to step up to MotoGP in the same way that John McPhee has."
Ryde – who first competed in Spain in the 2009 CEV 80cc Championships – will prepare for the start of the Spanish series with a one-off ride in the season-opening Italian CIV Championship double-header at Mugello over the weekend of April 12-14.
The CEV's first two rounds take place at Catalunya a fortnight later.
The Spanish Motorcycling Federation's Buckler-sponsored CEV (Campeonato Espanol de Velocidad), is rated as the world's premier feeder series for MotoGP .
Out of the 86 riders who will compete in the three MotoGP World Championship categories in 2013, a total of 65 are former CEV competitors – including nine from the 2012 CEV Moto3 class.