HM Plant Honda boss Havier Beltran says his decision to invite Joshua Brookes to ride for them in the final British Supersport round at Brands Hatch is motivated by a curiosity to see how they compare to the world championship machines.
Brookes, who is currently third in the World Supersport Championship riding a Stiggy Motorsport Honda, will make his British debut for HM Plant in place of Steve Brogan, who is continuing to focus on his Superstock commitments.
Naturally raising speculation that he could in line for a full-time switch to the team in 2009, possibly riding one of the Superbikes vacated by Leon Haslam and Cal Crutchlow, team manager Beltran insists they are keen to spend the weekend gaining feedback from an experience competitor.
“We wanted to put a rider of Josh's calibre on for the final round as we wanted some feedback from a seasoned World Supersport campaigner. Billy (Mellor) did a good job, but it was always our plan to put someone on the bike at Silverstone who wouldn't affect the championship points too much. With Josh we feel we have a rider who is more than capable of putting it on the podium.”
Brookes, meanwhile, is looking forward to competing in the UK, not least because it acts as a second home nation for him.
“I'm quite looking forward to this weekend as I've never ridden in the domestic UK championship before, so it will be good to see how it compares to the World Supersport series. I did well in Australia and since moving to Europe it's been interesting how tough it's been before I got that 'good feeling' that I used to have when racing Down Under.
“It's going to be like racing at home, as I live most of the year in the UK and the HM Plant Honda guys are a bit less foreign than I'm used to working with, too! Plus the paddock is full of Aussies! It's going to be cool to get on the HM Plant Honda CBR600RR and see how it is.”