Northern Ireland team Millsport Racing has signed experienced Czech rider Jakub Smrz to spearhead its maiden foray into the MCE British Superbike Championship next year.
Smrz rode for Clive Padgett’s Honda team this season, completing his first full campaign in the series and securing a best result of sixth place at Assen.
A former World Superbike contender, Smrz finished on the WSBK podium five times with Ducati and represents a shrewd signing for the Ballymoney outfit given his knowledge of the Italian twin.
He is yet to ride the 1199 Panigale but is relishing the chance to ride the Millsport Ducati for the first time.
“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,” said Smrz.
“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.”
Millsport Racing team manager Patrick Murray said Smrz’s prior experience with Ducati made him the ideal candidate to lead the team next year.
“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 2014,” he said.
“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.”
Millsport Racing linked up with Rapido Sport Ducati to contest the National Superstock and British Superbike championships this season.