Stiggy Honda has completed its 2009 World Supersport line-up by signing Gianluca Vizziello to ride alongside Anthony West.
The 28-year-old Italian has a long racing history in the Supersport class, but has also completed several years in the Superstock 1000cc class, taking several race wins in 2004, before spending the 2005 season in WSBK.
With one round to go, Vizziello currently sits 13th in the 2008 WSS standings, with a best race finish of eighth on Honda machinery.
"I must say that I feel like the happiest person in the world right now!" said Gianluca. "Straight after signing the contract with Stiggy the other day, I didn't really show my enthusiasm but now, when everything has sunk in, I have been celebrating for three days!
"The WSS championship is tough and highly competitive, but for next year I know that I will have one of the best and fastest bikes in the championship. I will work and fight hard to finish on the podium in every race. My goal for next year is to try to finish in the top five," he declared.
Stiggy's current riders, Josh Brookes and Robbin Harms, hold third and ninth in the championship standings heading into the Portimao season finale. Brookes, who won at Donington Park, will ride for HM Plant Honda in BSB next season, while Harms' plans are unconfirmed.
"I'm very pleased with our Supersport line-up for next year. I think it's a great mix of riders and they will compliment each other well," said team principal Johan Stigefelt.
"Gianluca has good knowledge of the Supersport class and knows the circuits very well. He is talented, has great potential to grow into a top rider and hopefully he will have the chance to do so with us. It will be the first time we'll have an Italian rider in our team, so that will be extra exciting for all of us. A warm welcome to both Anthony and Gianluca.
"Also, I would like to say a big thank you to Robbin and Joshua for their great co-operation these past years and wish them both a successful future!"
Stiggy will also run Leon Haslam in the World Superbike class next season, with any potential team-mate still to be announced.