Stuart Easton will return to next year’s Vauxhall International North West 200 in the colours of Ulster team Mar-Train Racing.
The 29-year-old Scotsman signed on the dotted line for team principal Tim Martin’s impressive Yamaha outfit on Friday and will ride the blue and white R6 in the British Supersport Championship in 2013.
Easton, who won the Supersport title in 2002, suffered career-threatening injuries in a high-speed smash at the North West during practice last year.
He skipped the meeting in May, but will make a welcome comeback to road racing at the international event next season, which takes place from May 12-18.
The Hawick rider, who returns to the Supersport class after competing in the British Superbike series full-time since 2008, finished 10th overall this year for Paul Bird’s Kawasaki team.
He flew into Belfast for a meeting with team owners Tim and Sonya Martin and the contract was finalised with the minimum of fuss.
Easton – a triple winner of the Macau Grand Prix – said he has been “impressed” by the Northern Ireland team’s rapid rise through the ranks.
“I knew that Tim and Sonya ran an impressive team and that the R6 Yamaha was the bike to be on in British Supersport,” said Easton.
“Even though they are a young team, I was impressed with their results this year, so I gave him a call and the deal was done pretty quickly.
“They have a good package and having ridden for a lot of teams I know how this game works, but I got very good first impressions when I went over to Northern Ireland to meet them on Friday.”
On his return to the North West in the wake of his horrific crash, the diminutive Scot acknowledged the importance of the event to his new employers.
“I’m more than happy to be back in Supersport and even though we will be racing at the North West 200 – which is an important race for Tim and his team – my main focus will be one hundred per cent on the British Supersport Championship,” he said.
Team boss Martin revealed he has been approached by a number of riders interested in joining his outfit since the end of the season, but admitted Easton stood out from the crowd.
“I’ve talked to a lot of other riders since the end of the season but when Stuart rang me on Wednesday night I was immediately impressed,” he said.
“He landed early this morning and by 12.30pm the deal was done – simple as that.”
Martin will supply Easton with a factory-supported Yamaha R1 for the Superbike class at the North West in addition to the R6 Supersport machine.