GSE Racing will race Yamahas in the British Superbike Championship in 2009 after revealing a shock switch of machinery.
The team, which is on the verge of sealing the 2008 British Superbike Championship with Ducati, has entered into a deal to run all-new factory-supported YZF-R1s in the British series for the next three seasons.
A variety of rumours concerning the Colin Wright-led squad have circulated in recent months, but while a move away from long-time partners Ducati had been mooted, it was often in conjunction with a graduation to the World Championship.
Instead, the team will remain where it is, but now enjoy considerable support from Yamaha Motor UK, which is looking to win its first BSB title since 1998.
“We are very excited about the new association with Yamaha, this represents a new challenge for the team but as ever we intend to be competing for the British Superbike Championship from the start,” commented Wright.
Team principal Darrell Healey, meanwhile, has thanked Ducati for their co-operation over the many years they have worked together.
“We have had an excellent relationship with Ducati over the years, winning 3 British Superbike Championships and achieving numerous successes in the World Superbike arena. I'd like to thank them on behalf of the entire team for their support. We are, however, extremely pleased to be entering into this new agreement with Yamaha, and to be involved in directly developing the new YZF R1. This arrangement will see the start of a new era in Superbike racing for GSE.”
“We are delighted to be partnering GSE Racing, the UK's most successful race team, and together I am confident we can successfully build a long term relationship both on and off the race track,” added Yamaha managing director Andrew Smith.
Beyond the switch to Yamaha, other details are not so forthcoming, including who will ride for the team in 2009, while it hasn't been confirmed whether GSE will continue their successful partnership with the Airwaves sponsorship brand.
In addition, the door has now been left wide open for a new team to assume official Ducati factory status in BSB next season. Currently, the North West team are in a prime position to take up GSE's mantle, although an all-new outfit could be in the pipeline.