Paul Bird Motorsport has announced Glenn Irwin will join the team as it switches to Ducati machinery for the 2016 MCE British Superbike championship, ending its partnership with Kawasaki.

Irwin will team-mate Shane Byrne next season after stepping up from the British Supersport championship as a triple Irish champion and former British Supersport Cup champion.

PBM will run under the Be Wiser Insurance banner on Ducati machinery in a 'multi-year association' which will receive full factory-support with the Ducati Panigale R.

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The move sees four-time BSB champion Shane Byrne return to the Italian manufacturer with which he sealed his first two titles in 2003 and 2008. The announcement also ends the team's long running association with Kawasaki, who is set to put full backing behind JG Speedfit Kawasaki in 2016.

PBM will fly to Valencia immediately after this season's final round at Brands Hatch with an intensive winter testing schedule planned out in preparation for 2016.

Team owner Paul Bird says he's admired Irwin's talents for a number of years and is delighted by the triple announcement of a new rider - who replaces Stuart Easton - a new title sponsor and a new manufacturer.

"2016 will be our 21st consecutive year in racing and we are the first team to confirm our line-up for next season, which demonstrates our intention of challenging for the MCE BSB championship," Bird said. "In Shakey we have the most successful rider in the history of the series and we know he'll be very competitive.

"Glenn is a rider I've had my eye on for a while and is a huge talent so now is the time to step up to a Superbike and I've every confidence in his ability. It's fantastic to have a reputable company like Be Wiser Insurance as our title sponsor as the brand fits perfectly with our team and it's a long-term association like most of our sponsors in the past.

"It's also great to be back working with the Ducati factory which will see us reunited with the brand which gave us most of our early successes. It's an honour to be entrusted to deliver the results as a factory-backed team, which we aim to do."