Makoto Tamada has confirmed he will remain in the World Superbike Championship this year after penning a deal to join newcomers Pro Ride, an agreement that will see him revive his once successful relationship with Honda.
Tamada makes the switch to the privateer Italian team after two difficult seasons helming Kawasaki's factory effort in World Superbikes, the 33-year-old unable to replicate the form that made him a race winner at MotoGP level.
Indeed, despite making headlines in 2001 by winning twice as a wild-card at Sugo, Tamada finished as the lowest placed factory-backed rider in both 2008 and 2009, although his latter season was interrupted by a series of injuries.
With the deal coming about by virtue to his connection with marketing company 'Speed of Japan', who announced a collaboration with Pro Ride towards the end of 2009, Tamada remains one of only a small number of riders to have won races in both MotoGP and World Superbikes.
Pro Ride SBK meanwhile, which was born out of what was left of the disbanded Alto Evolution team towards the end of 2008, had planned to debut in 2009 with Gregorio Lavilla. However, the withdrawal of key sponsors at the height of the economic crisis forced the team into a sabbatical.