Splitlath Aprilia will welcome its fifth new rider of the 2011 MCE British Superbike Championship at Cadwell Park after agreeing terms with British Supersport Cup leader John Simpson.
Simpson is currently enjoying a strong season in the BSS Cup series, where seven wins aboard the T3 Racing Triumph has seen him open up a 74 point lead with only four rounds remaining.
Though he will continue to concentrate on winning that series, restricting him to just two BSB outings at Cadwell Park rather than three, 20-year-old Simpson was delighted to be getting a shot on the Superbike after such a successful season in the Supersport class.
“I'm really excited about it,” Simpson, who has already tested the EVO-specification Aprilia RSV-4, said. “The opportunity came my way and I decided to grab it. I tested at Cadwell Park last week and loved the bike. I haven't ridden a 1000cc machine before, so it was a totally new experience but I really enjoyed it.
“John Dimbylow has been brilliant, he's 100 per cent behind me winning the Supersport Cup so isn't putting any pressure on me. This is a fantastic chance to get a taste of the Superbike class and hone my skills. I hadn't planned on moving up to 1000s this season, but as soon as I was given a chance I knew I wanted to give it a go.”
Simpson replaces Hudson Kennaugh, who has switched to the rival EVO outfit PR Kawasaki, and will be paired with experienced BSB racer Karl Harris.
“We're delighted to have John in the team,” said team manager Dimbylow. “He is doing a fantastic job in the Supersport Cup and by no means do we want to hamper his chances of securing that title so it is wise for him to probably only do two of the races this week.
“The team is completely behind him with this, and we will work around his Supersport commitment as much as he needs. John is a great rider with masses of potential and a great future ahead of him, and we're all very much looking forward to working with him and helping him develop his career further.”
Splitlath Aprilia began the season with Kennaugh and Jenny Tinmouth, the latter becoming the first female rider to start a BSB race. However, she would part ways with the team after two events, prompting Mark Miller and then Harris to join.