Jakub Smrz and Howie Mainwaring have been announced as Smiths Racing BMW's new riders for the 2016 MCE British Superbike championship as the team expands its line-up.
With 2014 British Supersport champion Billy McConnell leaving the to switch to Anvil Hire TAG Yamaha, the team has expanded its rider line-up and brings on board former BSB race winner Mainwaring and Czech rider Smrz.
Smiths Racing team manager Rebecca Smith, who has overseen two British Supersport titles, is delighted to secure a second bike for the 2016 BSB grid as it withdraws its commitments in the intermediate class.
“Running a two rider Superbike team was always something that we talked about and aspired to achieve and so it feels great to finally put this into place for 2016,” Smith said. “We've had some great success and also a lot of fun in the Supersport class but the time is right for us to move the team on and fully commit to the premier class.
“We are welcoming the opportunity to work with both Kuba and Howie and believe that they will really complement one another. We will be continuing our progress from 2015 in staying with BMW for 2016. We have an extensive testing programme planned and are very much looking forward to getting this underway and beginning our 2016 campaign.”
Smrz spent 2015 with Lloyds British Moto Rapido Ducati until he suffered a broken wrist at Snetterton and was duly replaced by John Hopkins. Once the Czech fully recovered he stepped in at BSB champions Milwaukee Yamaha on its second bike and secured consistent points finishes over the final three rounds. 2016 will mark Smrz's maiden campaign on BMW machinery.
“I'm very excited about this new adventure and really happy to join Smiths Racing for 2016,” Smrz said. “The team did very well in their first season in Superbike and showed that they have big potential. Having experienced staff and lot of passion for racing, I'm sure that we will be competitive.
“I can't wait to start testing and begin working with the Smiths team to get my first impression of the BMW. My 2015 season wasn't my best for many reasons so I'm even more motivated for 2016 and working harder than ever before ready to get started.”
Mainwaring completes the 2016 Smiths Racing BMW line-up after leaving Quattro Plant Kawasaki and is relishing the prospect of getting to grips with the German machinery alongside Smrz.
“I am really looking forward to the 2016 season and can't wait to start working with everyone at Smiths Racing and alongside a very experienced team-mate in Kuba,” Mainwaring said. “I feel with my team-mate's experience and my determination it will work really well and it will show with the results.
“To be honest I can't tell you how excited I am as words can't express my feelings. It's time to get my head down now and up the training ready for the first test on the bike which can't come soon enough.”