Brendan Roberts cannot wait to get his maiden World Superbike campaign underway after finalising his agreement to graduate to the series in 2009 with Guandalini Racing.
The Australian, who snatched the Superstock 1000 title in the final round of the season in Portugal, had been tipped to be British Superbike bound next year, but will instead form one half of an expanded Guandalini line-up.
He will be joined in the team by existing rider Jakub Smrz, while the hugely experienced Pierfrancesco Chili comes to Guandalini as their new manager for next season.
In a season that could see a massive 16 works-backed entries, not to mention a bevy of privateer talent too, Roberts admits 2009 is a tough year to be making his debut, but he is delighted to have been given the chance to show what he can do on the premier Superbike stage.
"I've been given a fantastic opportunity next year and I'll be riding in the Superbike class against some of the biggest names in the sport,” he said. “It's going to be tough as I have to learn a new bike, plus a couple of new tracks and there are a handful of extremely good riders coming from the UK, which will add to the mix of it all.”
Making his first appearance on the Ducati at the first official test of the year in Portimao, Roberts, who can count outgoing champion Troy Bayliss as a follower of his career, is desperate to get back on track again.
“I'm really excited and happy I've been given the chance to ride for the Guandalini team and extremely looking forward to the first test in January."