Stuart Easton will return to the British Supersport Championship in 2013 after signing for Northern Ireland's Mar-Train Racing team on Friday.

The 29-year-old flew into Belfast to complete the deal with team owners Tim and Sonya Martin.

Easton will ride the Mar-Train Yamaha R6 next season and will also have a full stable of machines for the North West 200 road races in May, where he will return for the first time since a horror smash during practice at the event in 2011.

The Hawick rider formerly won the British Supersport crown in 2002 and is confident he can challenge for the title with the Ulster outfit, which claimed the runner-up spot in the series this season with Dublin rider Jack Kennedy in the team's rookie year in the championship.

Irishman Kennedy narrowly missed out on the title in a dramatic climax at Brands Hatch after he was forced out of the race with machine trouble.

Three-times Macau Grand Prix winner Easton said: "I knew that Tim and Sonya ran an impressive team and that the R6 Yamaha was the bike to be on in British Supersport.

"Even though they are a young team, I was impressed with their results this year, so I gave him a call and the deal was done pretty quickly.

"They have a good package and having ridden for a lot of teams I know how this game works, but I got very good first impressions when I went over to Northern Ireland to meet them on Friday.

"I'm more than happy to be back in Supersport and even though we will be racing at the North West 200 - which is an important race for Tim and his team - my main focus will be one hundred per cent on the British Supersport Championship," he added.

"I'm now looking forward to getting a wee run out on the bike as soon as possible."

Team chief Martin revealed his delight at securing Easton's signature for 2013.

"I've talked to a lot of other riders since the end of the season but when Stuart rang me on Wednesday night I was immediately impressed," he said.

"He landed early this morning [Friday] and by 12.30pm the deal was done - simple as that.

"I'm really pleased to have him in our team and he is undoubtedly the best of all the options we could have signed for next year."

Easton will have the use of a factory-supported Yamaha R1 for the superbike races at the North West 200 in addition to the Yamaha R6.

Martin continued: "He is a proven Supersport winner and champion and can also ride a Superbike, so to have him for the NW200 is the cherry on the cake."

Easton finished as the runner-up in the main superbike race at the North West 200 in 2010 after losing out to Alastair Seeley in a thrilling final lap tussle.

He previously made headlines at the event when he clocked a top speed of 204mph on the Swan Honda two years ago.

It is understood that Kennedy will not continue with Mar-Train Racing next year and a second rider may be signed to join Easton next week.


Loading Comments...