Tyco Suzuki British Superbike team manager Philip Neill is adamant it was always his intention to re-sign Josh Brookes for 2012.

The Aussie endured a baptism of fire on the GSX-R1000 last year, suffering a string of crashes before he finally got to grips with the machine in the second half of the season.

An indifferent debut year for Brookes in the Northern Ireland team led to speculation over his future, but Neill says keeping the 2010 championship runner-up on board was always a priority.

In his official blog for Suzuki Racing, Neill said: "BSB remains our number one goal and despite some speculation, it really was a priority to retain Josh Brookes as he is a proven race winner and championship contender. Although it took some time last year for Josh to gel with the GSX-R1000, once he did, the results were there for all to see."

Brookes is competing in the opening round of the World Superbike Championship at Phillip Island in Australia this weekend as a replacement for John Hopkins in the Crescent Fixi Racing team.

British Supersport champion Alastair Seeley has been granted another opportunity in the premier class after making his BSB debut in 2010 and Neill expects the gritty Northern Irishman to cause a few surprises this season.

"The plan from an early stage was also to support Alastair Seeley in his progression back into BSB; although the first part of that plan - winning the 2011 Supersport title - looked a little shaky at one point.

"Just as we knew he could, he pulled it together in the end and more than deserves his shot at the premier title. Keep an eye on number 34, he will provide a few surprises and problems for the established BSB stars!"
The Tyco Suzuki team will remain in Northern Ireland to conduct its pre-season testing schedule this year at the Kirkistown circuit in County Down.

"For 2012 we will adapt a different approach and not venture to the south coast of Spain for our annual testing in the sun," said Neill. "Instead, we will use our local Kirkistown circuit in Northern Ireland for all the initial testing, as it actually suits the plan much better.

"Not only do we frequently have the circuit to ourselves with an open pit lane, but we are only one hour from the workshop and therefore machine changes can be made very easily and back-to-back testing under the same circumstances is a better way to move forward.

"Together with Kirkistown we will use as many opportunities as possible to put some miles under our belts at BSB circuits - something we find beneficial - even though it becomes very difficult once the season gets underway.

"In terms of our racing schedule for 2012, we have once again taken on a very busy programme including a full BSB campaign together with the international road racing season, plus the British Motocross Championship thrown in for good measure.

"A big workload I admit, but with a great group of enthusiastic guys on-board I'm confident we can do a good job on all fronts."