Bimota has announced it is to make a surprise return to the World Superbike Championship in 2014 with a pair of EVO-specification machines for Ayrton Badovini and Christian Iddon under the stewardship of Team Alstare.

The iconic Italian manufacturer, winner of the very first WSBK race back in 1988, has not been represented in the series since 2000, but its unexpected return means Bimota joins MV Agusta and Erik Buell Racing in swelling the represented manufacturers to nine in 2014.

Indeed, though a potential WSBK entry was foreseen following the earlier confirmation that Bimota has joined forces with Alstare to establish a 'Global Racing' division, the proposed five-year agreement wasn't expected to yield a WSBK entry just six weeks before the start of the 2014 season.

Nonetheless, Alstare - who helmed Suzuki and Troy Corser's run to the 2005 title - has arranged a convincing effort in little more than two months, with the new BMW-engined BB3 Superbike to be ridden by experienced WSBK podium winner Badovini and Supersport standout Iddon.

Set to compete in the inaugural EVO category (subject to FIM confirmation) with backing from ParkinGO, Alstare team manager Francis Batta is thrilled with his entry.

"I am very happy and excited about this long-term global project with Bimota - a famous and highly
thought of brand," he said. It all started at the EICMA last November, when I met the new owners Marco Chiancianesi and Daniele Longoni and immediately got on well with them. After that first meeting, I had a really good feeling about our prospects together.

"We knew our companies would complement each other in every way and such a symbiosis would be of
enormous benefit all round. We both have enjoyed success in racing and putting our expertise together will
be like a marriage made in heaven.

"The BB3, designed by Engineer Acquaviva and his team in Rimini, is a fantastic bike and full of potential.
We at Alstare are excited to help develop it, get it on the track and unleash the beast within.

"Ayrton was very unlucky with injuries last year and, realistically speaking, was never at 100%. Despite the
difficulties we all faced, he managed a podium in very trying conditions and also took a superb Superpole in
Germany - the first of his career. I truly believe Ayrton's potential is very high and I am sure that we'll do things well together - not least because he fits the Alstare spirit perfectly.

"I followed Christian's progress in Supersport last year and know that the guy is a genuine talent, with an
ability to go far. His manager, Giuliano Rovelli, and I spoke a lot during the holidays and we seemed to be
on the same wavelength. I will be collaborating with Giuliano and ParkinGo at some level and will give
further information once it has all been decided."

Alstare, which will receive full factory backing from Bimota for its new project, ran Ducati's WSBK effort in 2013 after many seasons partnered with Suzuki.

Though Bimota hasn't been represented in World Superbikes since 2000, it remains one of only eight manufacturers to have won races in the series having scored 11 victories since 1988.