Tommy Bridewell will return to the Bennetts British Superbike championship this weekend at Brands Hatch after securing a deal with Moto Rapido Ducati.

The former BSB race winner left the Movuno.com Halsall Racing Suzuki squad midway through the Snetterton round last month but will return to action at the Kent circuit with the Winchester-based Ducati squad.

Moto Rapido Ducati split with Taylor Mackenzie, who has returned to the Pirelli National Superstock 1000 series - where he clinched the 2016 title - in a deal with Bathams BMW, and Bridewell’s switch will mark his debut on Ducati machinery.

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Bridewell is relishing the opportunity, having spent the past week testing ahead of the Suzuka 8 Hours, and is hopeful of being on the pace from the first practice session.

“I am happy to be back racing this weekend, especially at Brands Hatch,” Bridewell said. “Ducati is the only manufacturer I haven’t raced with so this will be a completely new venture and experience for me.

“Yes we are starting straight off with free practice but it doesn’t worry me at all, I am feeling optimistic and hopefully I can click straight away with the Ducati and can be competitive from the outset.

“From the research I have done, the Ducati seems to have similar characteristics to the Yamaha I used to race and that still is one of the best bikes I have ever raced in BSB, so I am hoping that we can just get stuck in with free practice and build from there. It’s going to be an interesting weekend for us that’s for sure.”

Team boss Steve Moore says Bridewell was the ‘obvious choice’ since splitting from Mackenzie but is already bracing for a tricky race weekend as his new rider becomes familiar with the Panigale R.

“It’s been a busy ten days since Knockhill but we met with Tommy and worked out a deal,” Moore said. “It was the obvious choice for good reason; riders like Tommy don’t get left on the shelf for long so I’m happy to have secured him.

“Now we have a massive challenge ahead at Brands Hatch this weekend. As no testing is possible, the sensible and maybe smart thing to do would be to miss this round and start a proper test program - even just a few days testing to sort the basics. 

“But instead we have decided to go racing against established riders and teams with thousands of miles under their belts and well set up bikes, but where better to test than at a live race weekend?

“Tommy has never ridden a Ducati or twin cylinder Superbike so we have a busy few first sessions. I can’t wait to see what happens.”

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