Former World Supersport race winner Gino Rea will switch to the MCE British Superbike championship in 2018 with new team OMG Racing Suzuki.

After a frustrating 2017 season with Team Go Eleven Kawasaki Rea has opted for a rookie BSB campaign with new squad OMG Racing Suzuki. The team is headed up by manager Paul Curran with experienced hand Ray Stringer named as crew chief.

Next season will mark Rea’s first year competing in the BSB series at any level having switched from Supermoto straight into the European Superstock 600 series back in 2007 and the London-born rider is relishing the new challenge.

"I am so excited to join OMG Racing and to compete in the British Superbike Championship,” Rea said. “I have wanted to make the step up onto a Superbike for several years now but the right package hasn't presented itself, until now. After meeting with the OMG Racing team and hearing their professionalism and attitude towards racing and their will to succeed, I knew immediately that this is the right move.

“The new Suzuki GSX-R1000 has huge potential having already won a race in BSB, so combined with the team’s acquirement of Ray Stringer as my crew chief; I jumped at this opportunity to make my move into the Superbike category. I know how important it is to not only have a good bike, but also the right people around a rider and I feel those boxes are ticked with OMG Racing.

“There is a lot for me to learn as I've never raced in BSB, the bike, the circuits, the format etc, but it's a breath of fresh air and a challenge that I'm looking forward to. The championship is one I have followed closely for many years and it's the best domestic series in the world. Whilst competing in the World Championship I would usually only get one chance per year to race on home soil, so it's going to be a great feeling to race in front of the British fans more often.”

Rea is set for his Superbike class debut after spending the majority of his short circuit career on 600cc and Moto2 machinery having caught the eye as European Superstock 600 champion in 2009. Graduating into the World Supersport championship, the British rider secured a maiden rostrum at his home round in his rookie season in 2010 before following it up with a first victory a year later at Brno.

In 2012 Rea moved into the Moto2 World Championship for three seasons with mixed success before returning to World Supersport in 2015. With limited opportunities to make the jump up to World Superbike this year the British rider has opted to switch into BSB for his Superbike debut.

Team boss Curran, who has also confirmed the team will enter Ben Luxton in the National Superstock 1000 class for 2018, has been working on the new Suzuki Superbike since its debut in the UK last year and is confident his team can get Rea up to speed very early next year.

“We are excited to be working with the new GSX-R1000 as I myself at PCR Performance have been developing the bike since February of this year and we also have the very experienced Ray Stringer as Superbike crew chief,” Curran said.

“Each year BSB continues to assert itself as the greatest domestic bike series in the world and myself and the team owners of OMG Racing; Chris Oscroft, Greg McPhail and Alan Gardner are excited to join the paddock for 2018 with riders we know have the ability and focus to develop into winning contenders. We have an extensive winter testing schedule so we can come to the first round fighting fit! It is going to a very interesting and exciting year.”

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Worrying career move for Gino, who is a decent rider.

But he doesn't know the bike & doesn't know the tracks. BSB is insanely competitive, but it's easy to get lost there and have a good weekend that still barely sees the top ten.

When a WSB champion turns up last year and makes no impression, despite having raced here before, it tells you that there's not much room at the top. Too bad, but I hoped that 2017 on a Kawasaki was going to propell Gino towards the front of SSP.

That's the first nail in the coffin of his career. Does'nt know the tracks,the bike is still not developed & he hasn't the ability to improve it!

Good spares budget I hope.

I would've gone for Emelie Lahti myself-that lad's dynamite.

There was a time when Rea looked like he was going all the way but has never quite made it. 

Should be interesting to watch him go against Bradley Ray on identical? bikes. He's a streaky brilliant rider although he will have lot to learn,..... bigger, faster bike with no electronic aids. I hope he gets plenty of pre-season testing! Being a Londoner should help though, same as it does for Shakey with three rounds at Brands? Riders always go faster at their home track. My theory is that it's because friends and family haven't so far to go to see you in hospital.

Must be the biggest risk in his career. If this doesn't work out he could find himself in no man's land in a year or two. Moving to British Supersport would have been a better fit, have a chance to fight near the front in a class he knows while learning the tracks.