Southland’s Cormac Buchanan has signed for the 2023 JuniorGP World Championship

Cormac Buchanan on his home track Teretonga Park on the outskirts of Invercargill. [File photo].

Kavinda Herath/Stuff

Cormac Buchanan on his home track Teretonga Park on the outskirts of Invercargill. [File photo].

Southland teenage motorcycle racer Cormac Buchanan will return to the JuniorGP World Championship in Europe in 2023.

The 16-year-old has re-signed with leading Spanish team AGR Racing.

Based in Spain since March, Buchanan has teamed up with AGR this season to compete in the European Talent Cup (ETC) division of JuniorGP.

However, team boss Anscari Nadal identified his potential and in July promoted Buchanan to the Moto3 class of the world championship as a wildcard for the remaining four rounds of 2022 at Portimao, Misano, Aragon and Valencia.

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Cormac Buchanan in action during the FIM JuniorGP World Championship in Aragón, Spain.

Paco Martin – One Percent Magazi

Cormac Buchanan in action during the FIM JuniorGP World Championship in Aragón, Spain.

Buchanan was “very excited” to return to the AGR professional environment in 2023.

“In the last few months on the Moto3 bike, I feel like I’ve learned more than in my entire career and that’s thanks to Anscari and his team. There’s such a positive vibe with my team boss Javi (Alba Sola) and my mechanics – we have built a strong relationship which is key to our progress so far,” he said.

“I think Moto3 suits me much better. You have to do everything right to do the perfect lap and I love this challenge. I feel like it suits my riding style more – hard braking and sliding at the limit of control, which is Moto3’s specialty.

“Step forward was the way to go and I’m really glad we did that before next year so we’re not going blind. It was effectively my pre-season for 2023 so now we can we get started.

Nadal said he was “delighted” to keep Buchanan in the team.

“My goal as team manager is to take Cormac to the JuniorGP podium and then go to the Moto3 world championship. I’ve done that before with other riders and I think he will be the next to go to GP from the AGR structure,” he said.

“He’s a hard worker, he has the right mindset, he learns fast and we give him the tools to explode and show his full potential. We don’t like the easy path – we like to take drivers who don’t are not in front, make them faster and take them to the world championship and I think Cormac is the clear example of what is possible.

“He started this season in the middle peloton of the European Talent Cup and now we are making the front rows and top 10s in Moto3 in JuniorGP.

“I think next year we will be aiming for podiums or maybe even wins and we want to prepare him for the world championship and I am 100% sure that we will achieve it. I am very happy to working with a driver like him.

Despite only three rounds to his name, Buchanan’s progress in Moto3 has been rapid. At Motorland Aragon in Spain earlier this month he was fastest in the FP1 and Q2 sessions to secure P3 on the grid and finished the race 9th overall to earn his first championship points.

Buchanan, who also competes in the prestigious Red Bull MotoGP Rookies Cup championship in Europe, admits it’s been a steep learning curve since his first race in 2019 to now race alongside the world’s best young talent.

“Aragon was probably the first time in my career where I paused and reflected on what I’ve actually achieved and that made me proud,” he said.

“My goal next season, and I think it is achievable, is to be in a position where we are fighting for race wins, podiums and ultimately the championship.

After the last round of the JuniorGP and Rookies Cup championships in Valencia,

Buchanan returns home on November 10 to join the Yamaha Racing development team for the New Zealand season.

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