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Hill to defend BSB title with Swan Yamaha
21 December 2011
2011 MCE British Superbike Champion Tommy Hill has confirmed he will defend his title in 2012 after re-signing with Shaun Muir Racing, where he will be joined by Isle of Man TT record-breaker Ian Hutchinson.
Hill went down in history when he claimed the BSB title by 0.006secs over John Hopkins after a thrilling climax to the 2011 season and will now attempt to successfully win back-to-back titles.
Admitting to considering options elsewhere for 2012, including a move to the World Superbike Championship – where arch-rival John Hopkins will race next season -, Hill says the temptation to assume the 'No.1' plate with Swan Yamaha was too great to resist.
"At the end of last season after winning the title I was speaking to different teams and looking at the different championships, but I knew I needed to have the complete package,” he declared. “I have a lot of fans in BSB and I think having a British champion trying to hold on to the number one plate is something to get excited about; I certainly am! I really wanted to stay with Yamaha and build on the results and our relationship.
“The Swan Yamaha team have won one BSB title but now we are looking at how we can improve so we can do it again. The consistency with the team is very important and they have already started looking at what we can do to move forward again.
Looking ahead to the 2012 season, Hill says he is unfazed by the upcoming rule changes that will see him riding a bike with less technology to aid him and is excited about the prospect of fulfilling another career objective.
“The rule changes don't worry me as through most of my career I haven't used traction control. I think it will now come down more to rider input and also working as a team to get the chassis set up right. I know there has already been hard work behind the scenes at the workshop and as a rider that really gives me confidence before we even begin testing.
"I think going into next season there is probably less pressure on me than there was last year despite being the champion. If anyone had asked me before last year what my ambitions were the answer was always to win the BSB title.
“That is now complete but now that I have it, I certainly won't be giving it up without a fight. I am treating next year in the same way I did last season because I definitely want to keep hold of the number one plate for myself and the Swan Yamaha team."
Having celebrated his first BSB title with Hill in 2011, eponymous team manager Shuan Muir is delighted to be retaining his star rider for the new season.
"Everyone at SMR has been working behind the scenes since the end of the 2011 season. We knew that we wanted to have continuity in the team with Tommy to try and retain the BSB crown, which everyone knows is never easy.
“For that to happen we wanted to give him everything he requires in order to achieve it and we have been working hard on giving him an extremely competitive package and I believe we are already ahead of the game.
“The team are focused and we are obviously delighted to be defending the number one plate with Tommy. He wants to win another BSB championship as much as he wanted to win his maiden one last season.”
With Michael Laverty moving to Honda Racing for 2012, Hill will have a new team-mate in Ian Hutchinson next season [see separate story].
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