British Supersport champion-elect Luke Stapleford, who needs just three points from four races to be crowned the 2015 middleweight champion, will take on double duties as he steps up to the MCE British Superbike class for the final three rounds of the season.
Replacing James Westmoreland at the JG Speedfit Kawasaki team alongside James Ellison, Stapleford’s dual roles as him and his Profile Racing squad prepare for a move into the main class for the 2016 season.
“I’m so excited for Silverstone, it’s incredible to be joining a high profile team like JG Speedfit Kawasaki and I want to thank Mark and everyone for this opportunity. Obviously our main goal is to wrap up the Supersport title at Silverstone, but we’ve not changed the bike for the past few rounds as it’s so good, so our plan is to not do too many laps before the race in order to concentrate on the Superbike.
I’m under no illusions as to how big of a challenge it will be given the strength and depth of the British Superbike grid, but there’s no pressure on me from the team or anyone to perform, so we can use Silverstone and Brands as almost a test to see where we stack up and help decide what my moves are next year. I’ve ridden a 1000cc bike a few times before, so hopefully the Superbike won’t be a massive shock – I just can’t wait to get going now!”
And, with the likes of Stapleford’s former teammate Luke Mossey and Smiths Triumph’s Billy McConnell proving in 2015 the talent that lies in the supersport series, team boss Mark Smith-Halvorsen says it’s only fair to give the Leicestershire rider a chance.
“For Luke, it is the chance to try Superbike racing in earnest and to work with some experienced technical people, as he makes an assessment about his racing future and his plans for 2016. We feel really confident that the package we have will allow him to get a top level insight into the premier class, and the entire team is looking forward to working with such a talented and accomplished young rider. There will be no preconceived ideas or pressure to perform, however his inclusion in our squad will help to bolster the fresh confidence we have, as we attempt to battle our way back to the top of the BSB table before the final flag drops this year.”