Ian Lowry has secured a full-time return to the British Superbike Championship for 2011 after being added to an expanded Buildbase BMW rider line-up.
The announcement marks a welcome return for the Ulsterman who despite finishing fifth in his maiden BSB season in 2009 with Relentless by TAS Suzuki, failed to land a firm deal in 2010.
Nonetheless, despite brief forays in BSB with Motorpoint Yamaha and Spanish Moto2 last year, Lowry ended his season competing in the World Superbike Championship for the factory Kawasaki team.
Delighted to be riding for relative BSB newcomers BMW this season, Lowry is looking forward to getting underway.
"I'm pretty excited to be honest. I met with Stuart Hicken of Hawk Racing over in Ireland but he didn't tell me what he was working on. We had a meeting at the Motorcycle Live show, where the team made its debut, and we both said we wanted to race together. I heard that he was joining forces with BMW Motorrad and I was keen to get involved.
“The bikes have been very competitive; they dominated both the Superstock and BSB-EVO championships last year, so it's a brilliant opportunity for me. I think the British tracks really suit the S 1000 RR's chassis and setup, so it's just a matter of getting a few miles under our belts and getting ready for the year's racing."
The Buildbase team, which announced its switch from Kawasaki to BMW machinery back in November, had stated it would race with John Laverty and Barry Burrell in Superbikes, though the latter would compete in the Evo class.
However, it will now ensure the manufacturer, which hasn't competed in the BSB championship class before, will have at least two entries.
"I've watched Ian's progress with interest for three years now, especially in WSBK towards the end of 2010. He rode very well and didn't crash a lot, which is a good sign," Hicken said. "I ran into him again at the Sunflower Trophy meeting in Ireland at the end of 2010 where he beat John Laverty.
“I think there will be a healthy rivalry. I can see that John and Ian will push each other to the limit - and not too many times over it, I hope! I'm looking forward to a great season - and I think they can both help Barry on the EVO bike. Their knowledge will be invaluable to our BSB-EVO challenge too."