Richard Cooper will bolster the Bennetts Suzuki ranks at Assen after being handed a wildcard outing for the penultimate round of the 2017 MCE British Superbike championship.

The Pirelli National Superstock 1000 championship contender, who will race against title rival Danny Buchan who is filling in for the injured Billy McConnell at Quattro Plant FS-3 Racing Kawasaki, has landed a wildcard slot as the Superstock class is absent from the Assen round. Cooper will make it a three-rider line-up at Bennetts Suzuki alongside Sylvain Guintoli and Taylor Mackenzie - the latter returning to action after sustaining a broken foot at Silverstone.

After impressing for the Hawk Racing-run squad this year, Cooper has been rewarded with a BSB outing having spent the past few seasons in the championship before his title challenge in Superstock for 2017. Cooper feels a BSB wildcard at Assen is the ‘best option’ both for his title aspirations and the team to speed up the progress of the new GSX-R1000 after a tricky debut in BSB this year.

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Bradley Ray, racing for the sister squad Buildbase Suzuki, landed the Japanese manufacturer’s first BSB rostrum with the new bike last time out at Oulton Park with third place in race two.

“We always talked about doing something at Assen, with the Stock 1000 class not travelling to Holland,” Cooper said. “We talked about Supersport again, like we did at Thruxton, but decided to do Superbike in the end. For me, it’s the best option. The team has made good progress with the bike in Superbike spec in recent rounds, and we’ve seen that.

“I believe the bike is already good enough to achieve results on and I feel I can help develop it a little more with my experience. There’s no pressure on us this weekend. From a setup perspective, we’ll approach it like we do any other weekend and work through things one-by-one.

“It’s also a chance to try some other options and other settings without the pressure of results so much. Things that maybe the team has been reluctant to try with Taylor or Sylvain to this point. We can experiment a little more. But that said, I also want to achieve two strong results and I think we can.”

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Is that a reward or a punishment?

The performance of the Bennetts BSB team has been woeful this season. Bradley Ray really showed them up last time out.

Bradley has pretty much been the Suzuki star all year long. What a talent that kids is. I think having Cooperman helping out at Bennetts has to be a good thing. He's ridden just about everything there is and he's a top development rider.