Tommy Hill will switch teams and machinery for the 2011 MCE British Superbike Championship season after agreeing to join the newly-manufacturer backed Swan Yamaha outfit.
Hill just missed out on the 2010 BSB title with Worx Crescent Suzuki after losing out in a final round shootout against Ryuichi Kiyonari and Josh Brookes, but while that team – which has lost Suzuki manufacturer support for 2011 – had signalled its intentions to retain him, Hill has instead opted for a new challenge.
The deal marks a return to Shaun Muir Racing for Hill after he rode with the team at the end of the 2009 under the Hydrex Honda banner, while he will also be reunited with the Yamaha manufacturer he began his BSB career with.
"I am really buzzing about this new opportunity,” he said. “I came so close to the title this season and effectively one race lost me the championship, so of course I am looking ahead to next year and I want to win the title more than ever.
“As soon as the season finished I was looking ahead to 2011 and I knew that the package with SMR was going to be a big deal, especially with Yamaha's involvement. It is an exciting new venture for me and fantastic to be reunited with Yamaha, as it is with them that I really started my career so I feel like I have unfinished business.
“It is nice to be one of the first riders to confirm their place on the grid for next season, especially as everyone knows what the Yamaha is capable of as it has won in both World and British Championships. I am now preparing for the start of the new season and I can't wait to get testing underway so that we arrive at the Brands Hatch opening round at Easter ready to fight for the wins."
Shaun Muir Racing will also undergo a major change for 2011 after agreeing a move to Yamaha from Honda, the team having secured significant support from the manufacturer's UK arm.
"We are delighted to announce a new partnership with Yamaha Motor UK ahead of the new season. We will now be supported by one of the biggest manufacturers in the paddock and it is a credit to all the team at SMR that after several years running as a privateer effort, we have been given this recognition.
“We have seen that the Yamaha R1 is a winning package on both national and international levels and we fully expect to be challenging for the 2011 BSB crown. We have wanted to work with Tommy for some time as we believe he is a genuine talent with a strong desire to win and who has the potential to lift the title for the team.
“We still have ongoing discussions in regard to a second rider and we are hoping to be able to confirm the final line up in due course. This is an exciting time for everybody involved with the team and we are now planning ahead to challenge for the 2011 title."
Hill won four races on the way to third in the 2010 standings, while he also won a race for Yamaha back in 2005.