A flurry of announcements in recent days have seen the 2011 British Superbike grid swell in both numbers and talent, with a provisional 21 riders now confirmed two and a half months prior to the start of the new season.
With HM Plant Honda and Swan Yamaha taking centre stage pre-Christmas with the confirmation of its 2011 rider line-ups, several other teams have snatched some of the limelight recently, not least Crescent Suzuki, which will enter with John Hopkins this season.
The former MotoGP rider is a high-profile addition to the BSB grid and represents a significant coup for both the series and the Crescent team.
MSS Colchester Kawasaki has re-signed Gary Mason to join Stuart Easton, while James Westmoreland makes a welcome step up to the Superbike class with Motorpoint Yamaha after a successful BSS campaign.
His predecessor Dan Linfoot will ride for sorrymate.com SMT Honda, while Buildbase BMW has announced Ian Lowry will make a full-time BSB return alongside John Laverty. Meanwhile, reigning EVO champion Steve Brogan will resume his rivalry with Hudson Kennaugh on the championship class stage after it was confirmed he will step up with Jentin Racing, albeit this time on a Honda.
The EVO class is also growing, thanks in part to an ambitious three rider entry from WFR Honda (formerly BSS champions Embassy Racing), which has secured the quality services of Glen Richards, Alex Lowes and Graeme Gowland. Currently, its rivals for the title include Barry Burrell on a third Buildbase BMW and Daniel Kneen on a Kawasaki.
Though the grid is already taking shape, there is potentially more to come with Relentless Suzuki – now with backing from the manufacturer – needing a partner for Josh Brookes, while Crescent Suzuki hasn't ruled out a second rider too.
Tyco Honda has stated its intentions to run a bike alongside Tommy Bridewell, while Ridersmotocycles.com Ducati – fifth with Michael Rutter in 2010 - is also yet to announce its plans.
Confirmed 2011 BSB grid:
HM Plant Honda
Barry Burrell (E)
MSS Colchester Kawasaki
Sorrymate.com SMT Honda
Glen Richards (E)
Alex Lowes (E)
Graeme Gowland (E)
Mark Bloom Kawasaki
Daniel Kneen (E)