Craig Fitzpatrick will graduate from the Fuchs-Silkolene British Supersport Championship in 2010 after becoming the latest rider to commit to the new British Superbike Evo class.
Fitzpatrick, who won the Supersport Cup title in 2007, will ride a Honda for the Close Print Finance team in a deal that sees him become the fifth rider to bolster the Evo ranks.
Having finished 15th in the 2009 BSS standings and made his Superbike debut with Jentin Yamaha at Cadwell Park, Fitzpatrick feels now is the right moment to make the move to the premier class full-time.
"It is definitely a big challenge for me to join the Superbike grid and I am really looking forward to getting out there in the Evo class,” he told the BSB website. “It will be a big learning year for me after the seasons in Supersport and Superstock and I haven't been out on a 1000 for a couple of years now.
“It is a completely new bike for me and we need to get the most from the experience. I haven't got any real goals yet as I haven't ridden the new bike but I think I can adapt quickly and I had a run out on a Superbike with Jentin last year at Cadwell Park so I know what to expect.
"I will be helping to work on the bikes myself too so it is a big challenge in all aspects, from getting to the track to the races, but the Evo class means that I can make the step. I am heading to Portimao in a couple of weeks' time to have a ride on a Superbike then we have some tests planned in Spain ahead of Brands Hatch so we are prepared for round one.
“I need to thank our title sponsor Close Print Finance for their support of the move into the Superbike class as without them this opportunity just wouldn't be possible. I also need to thank BLDS, Slingshot Racing, Bowie Construction and Race Developments."
Fitzpatrick's current rivals for the inaugural Evo title are Scott Smart (Moto Rapido Ducati), Steve Heneghan (Quattro Honda), Kenny Gilbertson (Magic Bullet Suzuki) and Gary Johnson (AIM Suzuki).