Paul Bird Motorsport will become Kawasaki's official World Superbike team next season.
The British outfit, which marked its debut in the world championship this year by finishing as the top privateer concern, will take over the mantle from PSG-1 Corse, which has been Kawasaki's favoured team since 2005.
PBM, which initially ran a sole Honda for former British Champion Gregorio Lavilla under the Vent-Axia VK banner before expanding to include Chris Walker, will now become one of seven manufacturer teams in 2009 alongside Ducati, Suzuki, Yamaha and Honda, as well as newcomers BMW and Aprilia.
They will do it with the rider pairing of Makoto Tamada, who enters the second term of a two-year deal with Kawasaki, and Broc Parkes, the Aussie returning to Superbikes in 2009 after several successful seasons at Supersport level.
"It's a fantastic opportunity for us to be recognised as an official team and only after our first year in WSB!" said Paul Bird, whose team won BSB titles with Steve Hislop and Shane Byrne on Ducati machinery. "Kawasaki has given us a great opportunity to raise our game at this level and to have a direct relationship with the factory is so important. My team are ultra-motivated by this new direction and we are all 100% focused on delivering the goods for Kawasaki next season."
Kawasaki has won just one WSBK race since 2005 and its highest placed rider in the 2008 championship was PSG-1's Regis Laconi in 16th. That prompted Kawasaki to switch its official support from the San Marino-based team to PBM as it seeks to rediscover front-running form in 2009.
"We had many proposals from teams who wanted to run our official effort next year, which underlines our strong belief in our brand, and fills us with confidence that the Ninja ZX-10R has the ability to compete at the front of the pack once again," said Steve Guttridge, Kawasaki's European Race Planning Manager.
"PBM was chosen to represent us officially because Paul Bird has proved that by putting together a knowledgeable and closely-knit crew, great results can be achieved by working together in a structured way. He's shown this many times in BSB. The team are also very motivated to use the official factory input from Kawasaki in association with their own substantial knowledge and will work closely with the riders, Tamada and Parkes, to get the most from them.
"Along with this enthusiasm from the new team there will be an increased testing programme next year, both in the early season and between races," Guttridge revealed. "The initial test machines are being created and developed fully at the factory in Japan. This is another step towards full factory Kawasaki commitment to the World Superbike Championship.
"We expect that the input and feedback between the team and Kawasaki, with regard to both communication and technical evaluation, will help in a correct final development schedule, which will allow the riders and the Ninja ZX10R to step onto the podium next season."