HM Plant Honda have confirmed Glen Richards and Joshua Brookes will form their British Superbike rider line-up in 2009.
Replacing the world championship bound Leon Haslam and Cal Crutchlow, Richards and Brookes will form an all-Australian pairing for the 2006 and 2007 Superbike Champions.
An enticing line-up for Havier Beltran's team, both riders step up to Superbikes having spent the 2008 season competing in Supersports, Richards having won the British title, while Brookes currently lies third in the world standings.
For Richards, who also won the Superstock title in 2007, the move to Superbikes signals a return to the class he last participated in three years ago, although this will be his first effort on a factory supported bike.
“I'm looking forward to the opportunity and want to give it 110 per cent,” said Richards, who was originally due to compete with the Embassy Racing team he won the BSS title with this year before they scaled back their operations.
“I'm well up for this challenge and I intend to give it my all! I've won two championships in a row with Superstock and now Supersport, so to make it three-in-a-row is the aim and to add a Superbike title would be awesome. I've never had a 'factory' ride as such in the BSB series, so I do feel I have unfinished business in the championship and something to prove.
“Modern Superbikes are smaller now, much like the 600-class machines I've been riding. I've also been used to big power before, I know the tracks and I'm used to the control tyre, so I'm looking forward to 2009!”
Having seemingly lost out on a chance to step up to the World Superbike Championship with Stiggy Motorsports next year, Brookes maintains his relationship with HM Plant Honda having made his debut for the team during the final Supersport round at Brands Hatch.
“I've joined HM Plant Honda as I wanted to find a team which is a happy place to work and one with a good family, but also professional, atmosphere,” he said. “When I did the one-off ride at Brands, it showed me how well the team worked together and although I was only with them for a few days, it felt like I'd been with them all season. That was important.
“They've got a straight-forward and effective way of working and I like that. The HM Plant Honda CBR1000RR Fireblades have shown this season they can challenge for the title, so I think I can get the bike working well regardless of having not been to most of the tracks. The tracks themselves are quite similar to some of the ones I raced on in Australia, the only difference is the weather, but I'm good in the wet so that's no bother either!”