Hickman, a Supersport winner at the Isle of Man TT last year, has swapped his Triumph 675 in favour of a YZF-R6, finalising his line-up of machinery for the new season.
The Burton-on-Trent man will continue to race a BMW S1000RR in the Superbike and Superstock classes and will again ride a Norton Superlight in the Supertwin and Lightweight races at the North West 200 and TT.
The Gloucester-based Smiths Racing team has a long and successful association with Triumph, winning the British Supersport Championship twice with Australians Glen Richards and Billy McConnell. Along with Hickman, Lincolnshire’s Gary Johnson also claimed a Supersport TT victory for the team in 2014.
An official statement from Smiths Racing said the decision to make the switch to Yamaha had been taken due to a lack of available parts for the “ageing Triumph”. The R6 has also become established as a proven winner in the British championship and also at the international road races, with Northern Ireland’s Lee Johnston victorious last year in the class at the North West 200 and TT on his Ashcourt Racing-backed machine.
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Hickman, who won a record seven races from seven starts at last year’s Ulster Grand Prix – setting a new world road racing lap record at more than 136mph – will also be BMW Motorrad’s official international road racer this season, with Smiths Racing taking over the status from Ulster’s TAS Racing team.
He said: “We’re all really looking forward to 2020 and having the official BMW support for the first time is a big thing for us as we’re a privately-run, small team so to get that recognition is absolutely fantastic and nothing short of what, I feel, the team deserves - what we’ve achieved over the last three years has been pretty epic.
“We’re also running the Norton Superlight and carrying out all of the development work on the 650 Superlight which the team have already got in pieces and set to work on to hopefully turn the bike into a race winner at the TT.
“Finally, we’ve made the decision to change from the Triumph to the Yamaha in the Supersport class for the international road races, which will obviously be a bit different to the last three years,” Hickman added.
“We’ve had an awesome time with the Triumph and it’s been absolutely brilliant with the win at last year’s TT and all three victories at the Ulster Grand Prix being phenomenal. The little Daytona has done a fantastic job but, unfortunately, it’s a little bit long in the tooth now so to try and move with the times and keep up with what everyone else is doing, we’ve decided to move over to the Yamaha.
“I’ve never actually raced an R6 before so I’m really looking forward to jumping on it to see what we can do.”
Hickman will ride the BMW S1000RR for a fourth successive season in the Bennetts British Superbike Championship alongside team-mate Alex Olsen.