Former MotoGP and Moto2 rider Roberto Rolfo will make a surprise return to the World Superbike Championship in 2011 after being signed to front Team Pedercini's campaign with the new Kawasaki ZX-10R.
The Italian raced in the series between 2006 and 2009, though his previous appearance with Stiggy Honda was limited to just two events before he was replaced by John Hopkins. Prior to that, Rolfo competed with Caracchi Ducati, Ten Kate Honda and Althea Honda.
Having raced a D'Antin Ducati in MotoGP back in 2005, Rolfo made his way back to the grand prix paddock in 2010 with a turn in the inaugural Moto2 series aboard an Italtrans Suter.
However, while he peaked with a fine victory at Sepang and a podium at the Sachsenring, several difficult races ensured Rolfo would end the year as the lowest classified race winner overall in 14th.
Nonetheless, Rolfo's 2011 plans have already been firmed up after securing a return to the WSBK stage with the satellite Kawasaki team, which will be brought into line with the factory operation by competing with the all-new Ninja next season.
For Rolfo – who finished eighth overall in the 2007 standings - the opportunity to return to Superbikes was one he couldn't resist, particularly aboard the promising new machine.
"I'm really very happy to return to the Superbike championship,” said Rolfo, who didn't score a podium during his previous WSBK tenure. “My three years' experience in this fascinating and competitive championship was unforgettable and I will try my best to improve my preceding results. I immediately established a good feeling with the entire Pedercini family.
“They are reputable professionals and we are on the same wavelength concerning next year's targets. I decided to leave Moto2 because I'm eager to ride the new Kawasaki ZX10R and take advantage of all its great power. It feels grand to be back in Superbike and I'm determined to put a good season together next year.
“I'm looking forward to testing the new bike very soon and getting familiar with it while also getting to better know my new team. This will be my very first time on a Kawasaki bike.”
Pedercini Kawasaki raced with Roger Lee Hayden and Matteo Baiocco in 2010, though the pair struggled towards the back of the field at most races.