Aspiring MotoGP ace Cormac Buchanan has been confirmed as the first New Zealand rider selected for the Red Bull Rookies Cup next year.
The 14-year-old Southlander was one of 26 junior riders from 11 nations invited to participate in the championship next year.
Since its inaugural season in 2007, the Red Bull Rookie Cup has been the first stepping stone for several future Grand Prix motorcycle riders. This year saw Spanish rider Joan Mir become the first Red Bull Rookie graduate to claim a MotoGP championship.
Last year Buchanan was crowned the New Zealand Supersport 150 champion. He was then invited to partake in the Red Bull Rookies trial in Spain.
He managed to progress to the final but unfortunately missed out on a spot on the official race grid.
The 2020 selection process was drastically different from previous seasons with the global pandemic forcing organisers to do away with the usual trial event. Instead, selections were made online via a new virtual procedure.
Buchanan learnt of the news in the early hours of Thursday, and he says the achievement is a result of pushing to another level after returning from Spain last year.
“I was pretty shocked to be honest. It’s incredibly humbling and a massive opportunity for me as I pursue my goal of competing on the world stage,” said Buchanan.
“I’ve worked really hard since I got back from Spain and continued to develop my riding. To finally achieve this goal feels surreal.
“It’s going to be unreal to ride in Europe and represent New Zealand, and I’m determined to make the most of it. Hopefully, I will get to wear that silver fern on my helmet, and I want to do everyone proud.
“It’s going to be a steep learning curve with a completely new bike and circuits but we’ve been racing and training hard down here and I’ve been preparing myself for the step up.”
Buchanan is set to defend his New Zealand Supersport title with the Yamaha NZ team. He will depart for Europe in Autumn.
Australian youngster Harrison Voight was another notable inclusion on the 2021 entry list.
Invited riders for 2021 Red Bull MotoGP Rookies Cup
Harrison Voight (Australia)
Freddie Heinrich (Germany)
Jakob Rosenthaler (Austria)
Soma Görbe (Hungary)
Eddie O’Shea (Great Britain)
Cormac Buchanan (New Zealand)
Filippo Farioli (Italy)
Demis Mihaila (Italy)
Diogo Moreira (Brazil)
Riders invited to return from this year’s Cup
Tatchakorn Buasri (Thailand)
Daniel Muñoz (Spain)
Sho Nishimura (Japan)
Scott Ogden (Great Britain)
Alex Millan (Spain)
Iván Ortolá (Spain)
Matteo Bertelle (Italy)
Mario Aji (Indonesia)
Bartholomé Perrin (France)
Gabin Planques (France)
Noah Dettwiler (Switzerland)
Luca Lunetta (Italy)
David Muñoz (Spain)
David Alonso (Colombia)
Marcos Uriarte (Spain)
Collin Veijer (Netherlands)
Daniel Holgado (Spain)