Tommy Hill has become the second British rider to be confirmed on the 2009 World Superbike grid after agreeing a deal to race for the Hannspree Althea Honda team next season.
Hill had been due to race for the Italian-based outfit during this year's Supersport series, but a serious injury pre-season forced him to make a belated debut at the Nurburgring, where he was sidelined for the remainder of the year after a collision with Arne Tode.
As such, Hill hasn't even completed a competitive race lap for the team, but they are convinced the former British Superbike race winner is good enough to forge their way up the World Superbike grid following a tough 2008 season.
Speaking about the confirmation, Hill was delighted to put a disastrous year behind him and start looking ahead to 2009 with the promise of security and a competitive ride.
“For me this is fantastic news, I have gained confidence and trust in the Hannspree Honda Althea team and they've helped me through the hard times passed this year,” said Hill, who follows fellow Brit Tom Sykes in being confirmed for a WSBK ride.
“My team has passion and above all loyalty. They have given me a fantastic helping hand, and I hope to pay them back with strong, consistent results for the 2009 World Superbike season.
“The 2008 season is a year to forget, and with the amount of bad luck I had, I hope the luck will change for me in 2009. I trust that the knock backs I had will only make me stronger and fight back harder. One again I want to thank my sponsors, Althea, Honda, Hannspree and my Team for giving me the chance to ride in the 2009 Superbike championship.”
Althea Racing have experienced a tough year with Roberto Rolfo at the helm, the Italian only managing a best result of tenth so far. However, with the team planning to double their efforts in 2009, manager Salvatore Giorlandino is confident he has signed a star in the making.
“Tommy Hill is an excellent addition to the team I appreciated his riding qualities and his determination. His brilliant results in past British Superbike only strengthened our idea of taking him onboard. We think Hill could be a wonderful revelation for the next 2009 Superbike World Championship.”