Northern Ireland's Ian Lowry has a gilt-edged chance to put himself firmly back on the British Superbike map after penning a deal to ride for Clive Padgett's Honda squad this season.
Lowry will be joined in the team by former World Superbike and Supersport rider Luca Scassa as the Moira man bids to kick-start his faltering career in the wake of two largely unsuccessful and trying years in the sport.
But now the former British Supersport Championship runner-up has a new lease of life after switching to the Padgetts Racing team – a British motorcycling institution – with Italian ace Scassa as his team-mate.
Lowry, the top rookie in the British Superbike Championship when he finished fifth on the TAS Suzuki in 2009, is desperate to seize his chance and prove that he can run at the top level in British Superbikes.
“The team is phenomenal and this gives me a chance to show my true colours – I'm over the moon with the deal,” Lowry said. “Clive [Padgett] needs no introduction – he has something like 28 British championships under his belt and countless TT wins and what he doesn't know about those Hondas isn't worth knowing.
“He is really enthusiastic and is looking forward to the challenge of being back in British Superbikes because he hasn't been in the class for a few years now.”
After a miserable 2010 season, Lowry endured another torrid campaign last year as he struggled to make an impact on the Buildbase BMW S1000RR.
The breaking point came at the ninth round of the championship at Cadwell Park after his engine blew during free practice. Lowry left the circuit and returned home as his association with the Buildbase team reached a conclusion.
He joined Nick Morgan's MSS Kawasaki team for the final three rounds of the series, but Lowry's bad luck continued as he failed to finish three of the seven races, ending a frustrating season languishing in 22nd position overall.