Former Grand Prix race winner Anthony West has today (Friday) become the latest world-class rider to join the 2012 MCE Insurance British Superbike Championship as the Australian was signed up by the Italian Supersonic Racing team to join Swiss contender Patric Muff in their debut season.
West has competed at the top level of Grand Prix racing during his career and secured five podium finishes in the 250cc Grand Prix class, including an astounding win at Assen.
The former Kawasaki MotoGP protagonist has also celebrated victories in the World Supersport Championship before his most recent appearances in the Moto2 World Championship.
Dramatically, West looked like he would miss the chance to compete in 2012, but as the Supersonic Racing team announced their arrival in MCE BSB team owner Danilo Soncini grasped the opportunity to sign the experienced Australian.
Muff returns for his second MCE BSB season after scoring podium finishes in last year's BSB Evo class.
West said: "It has been a difficult couple of weeks for me; I obviously lost the ride in MotoGP and before then I hadn't looked outside of that paddock. I looked at what John (Hopkins) had done by racing in BSB last year and I thought it could be a good move for me.
"I don't know a lot of the tracks, but I have experience of learning fast from the different championships I have raced in before. It will also be a new experience riding the BMW Superbike so it is exciting for me; the competition this year looks like it will be the best it has ever been in BSB so it will be a new challenge.
"My fans have been a great support to me and it was also their reaction of wanting to see me race in BSB that pushed me to continue my racing career."
Muff said: "After my podiums and fourth place in BSB Evo last year, this season I had a single goal and that was to be back on the grid. After conversations with different teams, Danilo Soncini of Supersonic Racing offered me the chance to ride in his team.
"I'm so happy because they have a strong technical background with the official support from BMW Motorrad Italia. I am totally aware of what a big opportunity this is for me and I'll do my best to achieve the results.
"It certainly will not be easy with the entry of riders like my team-mate Anthony West and Noriyuki Haga, the level of competition this year has certainly increased. However, I can't wait to sit on my new bike for the first time!"
The Supersonic team directed by Soncini, announced their retirement from the World Superbike Championship in September 2011 and their decision to enter MCE BSB represents a renewed enthusiasm for the sport.
The team will be equipped with factory specification BMW S1000RR hardware supplied by BMW Motorrad Italia and will be adapted for the new BSB technical regulations.
Team owner Soncini said: "I'm still excited about everything that has happened in these past two months. The decision to leave racing had left an emptiness that I was unable to fill in any other way than returning to racing, then there was an opportunity to compete in BSB.
"The championship is really the ultimate expression of passion for motorcycling and to be able to compete as an Elite Team fills me with pride. The list of people that I have to thank for this project seems never-ending as so many have contributed to make this dream come true. We are ready to entertain.”