Jake Zemke will make his World Superbike Championship debut at Monza after being revealed as Stiggy Racing's replacement for the injured John Hopkins.
The reigning AMA Formula Extreme champion, 33-year-old Zemke will make his first appearance on the international stage having also established himself through four seasons of AMA Superbike competition.
A steep learning curve for Zemke, who has never raced at Monza before, the American is 'excited' by the opportunity to make an appearance with a team that has already experienced success this season
"I am extremely excited to race for the Stiggy Racing Honda team this weekend,” he said. “They have a first rate team and have had some excellent results. I would like to wish Hopper a quick recovery and thank him and the team for the opportunity to make my first World Superbike start. I also have to thank my current team, Erion Honda and my sponsors for their support. �
“The WSBK Championship is the most competitive championship there is, and making my start in the series is the next step in my career. I have been succesful racing on America, but am really looking forward to joining the World Superbike paddock.
“The field is very fast and deep. The Monza track has a deep history of racing, and I know how passionate the Italian people are about racing. I know the odds will be against us, learning a new bike, new track, new tyres, but I will give it my all at Monza for the Stiggy Racing Honda team ".
Taking the place of countryman Hopkins after the former MotoGP rider was injured in an accident during free practice last time out at Assen, team manager Johan Stigefelt was nonetheless pleased to be giving Zemke a belated world championship chance.
"We will not have John on our bike for the next two races, so we had to look for a replacement rider that will fit our team and structure. I know that Jake has been trying for a while to get a decent chance to come to Europe and race within the Superbike World Championship, and I am very happy that we can be the team to provide him that chance.
It is a tough championship, and it will not be easy to jump straight into the action at a track you have never been on before, but Jake has a lot of experience and knows the Honda bikes very well. Our team has a lot to offer him and I think we will be able to get him on the pace quickly.”
Zemke finished third, behind Ben Spies and Mat Mladin, in the 2007 AMA Superbike Championship.