Josh Brookes is confident he can force his way into contention in the Supersport races at the Vauxhall International North West 200 this year.

The Australian rider made his debut at the event in 2013, finishing seventh in the Superstock event despite the mixed conditions.

Brookes returns to the Northern Ireland road race in May on the Milwaukee Yamaha machines and has added the 600cc races to his schedule, when he will ride a World Supersport-spec Yamaha R6 for Shaun Muir in addition to the YZF-R1 Superbike.

The 30-year-old, who previously finished third in the World Supersport Championship in 2008, said: "The fans in the UK probably only associate me with the Superbike class as that's where they are used to seeing me race, but I've a lot of history in the Supersport class.

"I've won a couple of Australian titles and two races in World Supersport, and although I've never ridden the R6 before, my team boss Shaun Muir has a decent testing schedule planned before the North West.

"The racing at the North West is always pretty exciting and the Supersport class produces really close racing. There are usually five or six riders on the mix, hopefully I'll be one of those this year on the Milwaukee Yamaha."

Brookes will be joined at the North West 200 by team-mate Ian Hutchinson, who will also compete in the Superbike and Supersport races.

Team owner Shaun Muir said: "Originally I hadn't planned on running Josh on anything other than a Superbike, but having sat and thought about it and dug a bit deeper, the more track time he gets, the better. So we have decided to build him an R6 for the Supersport races, which will help him with his track knowledge for the Superbike races also at the North West 200.

"He started his career on 600s and acquitted himself extremely well with Australian titles and World Supersport wins, and we see no reason why he can't continue with that on the roads. When I spoke to him about it he was over the moon and something he said he was really keen to do. So we've done it."

Last year, Brookes became the fastest Isle of Man TT newcomer in history, lapping the Mountain Course in excess of 127mph.

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