Richard Cooper will make his North West 200 debut after securing a deal with Buildbase Suzuki to race in both the Superbike and Superstock classes.

Cooper, who will also contest the National Superstock 1000 championship this year with the team, says he’s been targeting a road racing debut at the Northern Irish event for a few years and is naturally thrilled to lockdown a deal.

The former national champion is eager to get up to speed but accepts he must take a step-by-step approach on the roads.

“I’ve been looking at taking this step for a couple of years now to be honest, but I was only going to do it when everything came together to do it and do it properly,” Cooper said. “The team is vastly experienced on the roads so I know I’ve got a lot of people around me who know what they’re doing and a lot of support, and the North West 200 is an incredible road racing event to be competing in.

“Obviously I think any rider goes somewhere new to compete with an idea of what they can do and what they can achieve, and of course I’ve got targets in my head. But at the same time I’m approaching this with a sensible head on. I’ll be taking my time and learning as much as possible, and we’ll take it step-by-step.”

Ducati at the Sepang Shakedown Test

Cooper is content with his dual 2019 racing plans but underlines his primary target for this season is the National Superstock 1000 title having finished narrow runner-up for the team in 2017.

“While the North West is obviously a big thing for me this year and is a bit of a milestone in my career, the focus is very much on trying to win the Superstock title for the team and for Suzuki,” he said. “I’ve won it before and nearly won it again a couple of years ago when the bike was brand new.

“Now the GSX-R1000R has had another year of development under its belt, it finished runner-up again last year, hopefully it’s third time lucky.”

Cooper has experience on both the Superbike and Superstock version of the Suzuki GSX-R1000 across the last two years spread between the Superstock 1000 and British Superbike championships.