Peter Hickman will return to BMW machinery for the international road races in 2017 after signing for the Gloucester-based Smiths Racing Team.

The Burton-on-Trent rider, who will contest the MCE British Superbike Championship with Lee Jackson, will kick off his preparations for the Isle of Man TT at the North West 200 in Northern Ireland in May. Hickman will also compete at the Ulster Grand Prix at Dundrod for Smiths Racing at Dundrod in August.

The 29-year-old rode Kawasaki machinery on the roads last year for the GBmoto Racing team and achieved a superb fourth place at the TT in the RST Superbike race, lapping at 132.465mph in only his third year at the iconic event. Hickman also finished on the rostrum at the North West 200 and Ulster GP and successfully retained his crown at the Macau Grand Prix in November, when he reverted back to a BMW S1000RR after teaming up with Michael Rutter and Stuart Easton in the Bathams SMT team.

Hickman, who rode BMW machinery on the roads in 2014 and 2015 for the Ice Valley and Lee Hardy Racing teams, said: "I have another new challenge to look forward to again this season and I'm relishing it aboard the Smiths Racing BMW. All the dealings I've had with the team so far have been fantastic and they are very easy to work with.

"I know the BMW well having ridden it in the past and we've been promised the right support from the factory in Germany, which will make a difference. I'm pleased to be bringing my own crew into the team which is a massive bonus so I'm really looking forward to the season in both BSB and on the roads with Smiths Racing."

Hickman still holds the record for the fastest ever lap by a newcomer at the TT after clocking 129.104mph in 2014. He clinched his maiden big bike triumph in the second Superbike race at the Ulster Grand Prix in 2015 before adding the Macau Grand Prix trophy to his cabinet a few months later at his first full attempt, underpinning his credentials as a rider of unique versatility, who will no doubt have his sights set on clinching a maiden TT win in June.