Anthony West joins new BSB team on BMW S 1000 RR
Former Grand Prix race winner Anthony West has today (Friday) become the latest world-class rider to join the 2012 MCE Insurance British Superbike Championship as the Australian was signed up by the Italian Supersonic Racing team to join Swiss contender Patric Muff in their debut season.
West has competed at the top level of Grand Prix racing during his career and secured five podium finishes in the 250cc Grand Prix class, including an astounding win at Assen. The former Kawasaki MotoGP protagonist has also celebrated victories in the World Supersport Championship before his most recent appearances in the Moto2 World Championship.
Dramatically, West looked like he would miss the chance to compete in 2012, but as the Supersonic Racing team announced their arrival in MCE BSB team owner Danilo Soncini grasped the opportunity to sign the experienced Australian. Muff returns for his second MCE BSB season after scoring podium finishes in last year’s BSB Evo class.
West said: “It has been a difficult couple of weeks for me; I obviously lost the ride in MotoGP and before then I hadn’t looked outside of that paddock. I looked at what John (Hopkins) had done by racing in BSB last year and I thought it could be a good move for me. I don’t know a lot of the tracks, but I have experience of learning fast from the different championships I have raced in before. It will also be a new experience riding the BMW Superbike so it is exciting for me; the competition this year looks like it will be the best it has ever been in BSB so it will be a new challenge. My fans have been a great support to me and it was also their reaction of wanting to see me race in BSB that pushed me to continue my racing career.”
Muff said: “After my podiums and fourth place in BSB Evo last year, this season I had a single goal and that was to be back on the grid. After conversations with different teams, Danilo Soncini of Supersonic Racing offered me the chance to ride in his team. I’m so happy because they have a strong technical background with the official support from BMW Motorrad Italia. I am totally aware of what a big opportunity this is for me and I’ll do my best to achieve the results. It certainly will not be easy with the entry of riders like my team-mate Anthony West and Noriyuki Haga, the level of competition this year has certainly increased. However, I can’t wait to sit on my new bike for the first time!”
The Supersonic team directed by Soncini, announced their retirement from the World Superbike Championship in September 2011 and their decision to enter MCE BSB represents a renewed enthusiasm for the sport. The team will be equipped with factory specification BMW S1000RR hardware supplied by BMW Motorrad Italia and will be adapted for the new BSB technical regulations.
Team owner Soncini said: “I’m still excited about everything that has happened in these past two months. The decision to leave racing had left an emptiness that I was unable to fill in any other way than returning to racing, then there was an opportunity to compete in BSB. The championship is really the ultimate expression of passion for motorcycling and to be able to compete as an Elite Team fills me with pride. The list of people that I have to thank for this project seems never-ending as so many have contributed to make this dream come true. We are ready to entertain and have fun!”
The newly-amalgamated Jentin Doodson Motorsport team have confirmed their return to MCE BSB, switching to Italian machinery as they campaign the exotic new Ducati Panigales with former Italian Superbike and FIM Superstock 1000 Cup multiple champion Alex Polita who makes his debut alongside Tom Tunstall.
Polita prepares to add success in the UK to his Italian and World class titles. He has already secured national championship victories including the 2005 Italian Superstock Championship, where he claimed five podium finishes from six rounds before progressing to the FIM Superstock 1000 Cup Championship.
Polita again made his mark in the Superstock class at world level with an impressive eight podium finishes including three race wins, from ten rounds to claim the Championship in 2006, whilst simultaneously competing in the Italian Superbike Championship where he finished runner-up. He then continued his podium-scoring form in the FIM Superstock 1000 Cup class into 2008 to score an impressive 17 top three finishes in just four seasons.
The determined Polita returned to the Italian Superbike Championship in 2010 after missing out on the title previously, which he won in dominating form with seven podium finishes from seven rounds. He then defended his Championship crown last season, but narrowly missed out on securing a second consecutive title by just four points despite finishing on the podium at every round, with race wins including the final round at Mugello. His 2011 season also included two WSB wildcard races at Misano and Imola where he earned points-scoring finishes.
Polita, nicknamed ‘Il Pirata’ (The Pirate), said: “I’m thrilled about joining the Jentin Doodson Motorsport team and face the new challenge of racing in BSB. I’ve always been interested in BSB and I dreamt of racing in the championship. It’ll be an exciting season, full of challenges on lots of new tracks and against really competitive riders. I have to thank my manager Bruno Ponti and Ernesto Marinelli of Ducati and also Barni and my sponsors who have supported me over the past two seasons.”
Team co-owner and rider Tunstall returns to MCE BSB alongside Polita and is looking forward to the new challenge: “I’m delighted with the partnership between Bernie and our Doodson Motorsport team. We have very similar attitudes and share common goals. With factory built Panigales, plus backing from Ducati and John Hackett we have built strong foundations for 2012 and the future. It’s a fantastic opportunity and sharing the management with Bernie will also help me to focus on my riding, which wasn’t easy when I was running my own team.”
Joint team owner Bernie Toleman said: “It certainly promises to be an exciting season ahead for us. Both Tom and myself have put in a tremendous amount of effort to bring our teams together but it has been worthwhile. The all new Ducati Panigale clearly shows tremendous promise and the fact that we have been able to form a technical partnership with JHP provides a massive boost. We are justifiably proud that Ducati Corse have helped with the rider selection and we have been able to bring Alex Polita to BSB on a Ducati. Our intention is to provide both Alex and Tom with all the resources at our disposal to make this season in BSB successful.”