Smrz returns to BSB with Ducati

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Jakub Smrz will return to the MCE British Superbike Championship for 2014 after signing a deal with debut team Millsport Racing that will reunite him with Ducati machines.

Former WSB podium finisher Smrz will ride the Northern Irish team's Panigale as they promote themselves from a successful year in National Superstock with Tristian Palmer.

The Czech, who raced in GPs from 2001 to 2006, has experience with the Italian manufacturer, riding 999s and 1098s in WSB for SC Caracchi, Sterilgarda and Guandalini Racing.

Smrz has a long standing history with Ducati, having secured five podium positions with the Italian manufacturer in the World Championship, and is relishing the opportunity to be reunited with their machinery and ride the 1199 Panigale for the first time. Smrz completed his first full season achieving a best result of sixth place at Assen, having scored his first front row start on his debut at the Dutch circuit the previous season. The Millsport Racing team are now building for their debut in the Superbike class, having celebrated race winning performances in last season’s Pirelli National Superstock 1000 Championship.

Smrz said:  “I am happy to be joining Millsport Racing and to be riding a Ducati again in 2014. My first full BSB season was difficult as I had to learn lots of new tracks, but now I will be a lot stronger next year. Even though I have not raced the Panigale yet I have a lot of experience with the Ducati twin from previous seasons and I am glad to be part of the Italian family again."

"We all know the Championship is extremely strong with fast riders and difficult tracks, but we will be working hard to mix it at the front and I hope to be able to bring the Panigale to the top.”

Team Manager Patrick Murray added: “It is great news for us to be able to bring a rider of Jakub’s experience to our team. He has a vast knowledge of Ducati machinery after riding for six years in the World Superbike Championship and returning to a manufacturer he is familiar with combined with the fact he has now learnt the tracks, gives us great confidence to achieve our goals for the 2014 BSB season."

"We are now working on the rest of our plans for next year. It has been our long term plan since we started racing in 2006 to be competing in this championship so everyone involved with the team is extremely excited now and can’t wait to get started.”

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Simon Patterson

By Simon Patterson

MotoGP and road racing reporter, photographer, videographer