Former British Superbike runner-up John Hopkins will join the man who beat him to the title in 2011, lining up next season for Tommy Hill’s new Yamaha team.
The former MotoGP racer returned to BSB in style this year when he took over at Moto Rapido Ducati from the injured Jakub Smrz, immediately returning to his former pace en route to giving the Panigale its first ever BSB podium.
And with the new R1 very capably shown off in the hands of Josh Brookes in 2015 – and with the potential absence of Milwaukee Yamaha hypothetically equating to more factory support for the fledgling squad – Hill says the squad should well be capable of big things.
“We have seen what a great package the Yamaha has been in the championship this season with SMR and we have no doubt that both riders will be ready to deliver strong performances for the team in our debut year in 2016.”
“It’s particularly poignant to announce John here at Brands Hatch today because this is the scene of the most memorable race of both our careers and is still the most talked about race in BSB history.”
Hopkins similarly is already preparing himself for the new season – aided by seeing first hand and up close the abilities of Josh Brookes’ machine.
“Honestly, I couldn’t be more excited to be able to start the season 2016 on a Yamaha after seeing what it was capable of this year. For years, seeing the Yamaha out on track I’ve always just thought in the back of my mind that it was a bike that would really sort my riding style.
“I think this is possibly going to be one of the first times in my career bar none that I’ll have one of the most competitive machines out in the field - and with that in mind I am going to do everything myself I possibly can, mentally and physically, to come back and try and win this Championship.”