Crash.Net BSB News
Smrz, Aitchison re-sign with Splitlath Aprilia
30 November 2012
Former World Superbike Championship riders Jakub Smrz and Mark Aitchison will get a full season in the MCE British Superbike Championship next year after agreeing to stay on with Splitlath Redmond Aprilia.
Both Smrz and Aitchison made their debut for Splitlath Redmond Aprilia during the second-half of the 2012 season having begun the year competing at international level with the respective Effenbert Liberty Ducati and Grillini BMW teams.
Aitchison joined Splitlath Redmond first, though his campaign was hampered by a hand injury sustained in an accident at Cadwell Park. Despite this, Aitchison proved rapid during his brief tenure on the RSV4 and is looking forward to exploring the bike's full potential now he is fully fit.
"I'm very excited for the opportunity to continue on with the Splitlath Redmond team for 2013,” he said. “Ever since I joined the team I have felt like a part their family. The latter half of 2012 was quite difficult for me, coming back from injury and attempting to regain some confidence, but I've been very fortunate to have such a supportive team around me.
“With their patience I was able to come back almost fully fit and build some momentum for next season. We have some big targets for next year, so I'm really looking forward working with my crew and Kuba to put both these Splitlath Redmond Aprilias at the front.”
Smrz, meanwhile, was originally signed as the replacement for injured Aitchison, the Czech rider immediately making his mark in BSB by qualifying on the front row at Assen and scoring points in each of the final three events.
Winner of three pole positions and five podiums at WSBK level, Smrz was thrilled to be getting a full season in the British series.
“I am very happy to re-sign with Splitlath Redmond for 2013. I had the chance to make the last races with the squad this season and really enjoyed the BSB championship and working with all the guys.
“We did three rounds together so now we know what needs to be improved to give me and Mark the best to be on top, but I know this team is able to get us there.
“I am working hard on my physical condition and the team is working hard to get my Aprilia as fast as possible and put together strong people working for me. I can't wait to be back on my bike again.”
As well as revealing an international rider line-up, Splitlath Redmond also announced that it will forge closer ties with Aprilia in an effort to bring the RSV4 up to speed with its rivals having scored only nine points in 2012.
This will include receiving technical support from the Aprilia factory in Italy, as well as having WSBK personnel attending BSB events and tests. The deal marks Aprilia's first official entry into British Superbike racing.
“This news is very, very exciting for us as a team. We are absolutely delighted to be forming this partnership with Aprilia,” said team manager John Dimbylow. “This has always been our goal. We will now receive parts, tech support and help with development work from the factory which we believe will bring us right into play as one of the leading teams in the British paddock.
“We have re-signed Mark and Kuba who in our opinion are two of the best superbike riders in the world and have already proved themselves on the bike. Taking these two talented riders, adding in the factory support and a talented crew who are focussed only on success will make us one of the big hitters in 2013. We can't wait.”