2002 British Superbike Champions Steve Hislop has turned down a MotoGP offer from Peter Clifford and decided to defend his #1 plate next year on a Virgin Yamaha.

Hizzy was sacked by Monstermob Ducati Boss Paul Bird just two weeks after taking the title at Donington Park. Bird cited Hislop's age [40] as being the decisive factor and he signed Shane Byrne as the Scotsman's replacement.

However, far from walking slowly into the sunset, Hislop has now been signed by Rob McElnea's Virgin Mobile backed outfit and will ride one of the ex-GP racers 1000cc Yamaha's in the 2003 series.

Although he's switched from the dominant Ducati twins, Hislop will be happy at the new rule changes that will allow further tuning - and therefore horsepower - to be developed by the 4 cylinders in what promises to be an explosive 2003 next season.