Pirelli National Superstock 600 champion Ryan Vickers will make his Bennetts British Superbike debut in 2019 with RAF Regular & Reserve Kawasaki.

The Lee Hardy Racing-run squad narrowly missed out on the BSB title this season with Jake Dixon and with the 22-year-old moving to Moto2 next year the team has opted to continue to put its faith in young talent by signing 19-year-old Vickers.

Vickers sealed the Superstock 600 title this season at Silverstone and is relishing the opportunity to jump up to BSB with a race-winning package.

“This is an amazing opportunity to move into the Superbike Championship with the perfect team,” Vickers said. “Lee, Glen [Richards] and the whole RAF Regular & Reserve Kawasaki team have done an incredible job this year.

“I have been speaking with Lee a lot, and they like developing young riders and they have done that with Jake since he joined the team and I want to follow in his footsteps as together they have done an amazing job.

“I ended last year well and it was looking good for this year to come and try and win the Superstock 600 Championship this year. It has been really positive and I have learnt a lot and it felt great to win the title. I look at the move next year as another learning curve for me. Last year I went from a CB500 to a 600 which was also a huge jump so I just want to take next year as it comes.

“I think having fast riders throughout the grid in BSB will help to push me too and it brings you on faster so I am looking forward to the challenge. It is a brilliant opportunity for me and so I am looking forward to progressing and I can’t thank the team and all of my personal sponsors and management for giving me the opportunity to take the next step in my career.”

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Hardy is thrilled to secure Vickers and a continued partnership with the RAF but accepts the teenager will have a tricky learning curve ahead of him in BSB.

“We are excited to announce that Ryan is joining us for our 2019 season, having followed his rapid progression through the support classes,” Hardy said. “He has certainly been the standout rider in the Superstock 600 class. He also lives locally to the team, so in his first full season in Superbike we can work closely together at our team base at Swaffham in Norfolk.

“We are also delighted to announce the Royal Air Force will continue to be our leading partner for the 2019 season, continuing to actively promote RAF Regular and Reserve Recruitment through the Bennetts British Superbike Championship platform.

“We showed with Jake how you work together to learn the Superbike and then to turn that into becoming a title contender.”

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