Hawk Racing has announced it will double up for the 2009 British Superbike Championship after securing the services of reigning Cup Champion John Laverty.
As confusion continues to surround the involvement of Ducati in next year's series, Laverty, who claimed several notable results on the way to a dominant Cup victory in 2008, is not waiting to find out about the fate of the North West 200 team.
Instead he will pair up with Tristan Palmer in 2009 at Hawk Racing, which will continue to run with Kawasaki and be renamed as the Buildbase Kawasaki team.
Laverty's signature is seen as something of a coup for team principal Stuart Hicken, particularly when he considers the strong results he managed in 2008 aboard a bike more akin to Superstock than Superbike.
"I am over the moon to secure a title sponsor such as Buildbase and to have two riders of the calibre of John and Tristan is fantastic. The whole team are a hundred percent motivated and I am very confident both riders will have a great season.
“Our test program starts in February with a one week test planned at Cartagena and we can't wait to get going."
Significantly, Laverty also brings title sponsor Buildbase to Hawk, owing to the team's name change. For Buildbase's Stephen Thompstone, the combination of Laverty and Palmer gives him confidence of a good season ahead.
"It's great to have Tristan and John riding for Buildbase Kawasaki. Both riders have a great history with Buildbase and we are looking forward to an enjoyable and successful season in 2009."
Hawk Racing ran a single Kawasaki for Scott Smart in 2008.