Louth Superbike racer Peter Hickman has been handed a huge boost to his Championship hopes after securing a move to a new team.
Following weeks of speculation, Hickman has joined the GBmoto Racing team to join James Ellison in the British Superbike Championship, and front their challenge for road race podiums.
As one of the most popular riders within the paddock, Hicky has established himself as one of the front runners in the competitive championship with five podiums in recent seasons, including a memorable victory at Cadwell Park.
His duties with the official factory-supported Kawasaki team will begin with extensive testing on the new Kawasaki ZX-10R Superbike ahead of the BSB season which kicks off on April 8 at Silverstone.
The team wants to put both riders in the season-ending Showdown - between the Championship’s top six riders - for the first time.
He said: “I’m really pleased to be joining the GBmoto squad again.
“They’re an incredibly professional outfit and with the factory support from Kawasaki, coupled with the awesome new ZX-10R, it’s the best package on the grid.
“I’m also very excited to be working with James as a team-mate. It’s the first time I’ve ever had a genuine title challenger sharing the garage with me.
“The goal for BSB this year is, of course, to first be in the Showdown, but also challenging for podiums and wins.”
Hickman will also front GBmoto’s Road Racing assault, competing at the three International Road Races; the North West 200, Isle of Man TT and Ulster Grand Prix.
Even though 2016 will only be his third season racing on the roads, Hicky has proven a revelation. He became the eighth-fastest rider in history around the iconic TT course and claimed his first win at the Ulster Grand Prix in August.
The Louth rider will race the factory backed GBmoto ZX-10R Kawasaki in the Superstock and Superbike races at all three events.
“I’m really looking forward to getting the Kawasaki out on the roads, too,” he added.
“It will be the first time I’ve ridden a different bike at the North West, TT and Ulster, but the new Superbike is an absolute weapon on paper and with factory support, I see no reason why it won’t relate to the track.
“To get the first win this year was incredible, and although it takes a lot of luck I definitely think we’ll be able to challenge at the front in 2016.”
GBmoto Racing team principal Mark Smith-Halvorsen said: “I’m really pleased to have Peter back with the team for 2016.
“Over the last couple of years he’s proven to be one of the rare breed of riders who is capable of not only running at the front of the British Superbike Championship but also compete for glory on the roads.
“Our aim for next season is to get him into the BSB Showdown along with James. He’s shown he can secure podiums and race wins and I’m confident with the JG Speedfit Kawasaki package he’ll be able to challenge for the same every weekend.”