British Superbikes champion Shane Byrne has been confirmed as one of two new riders at the Sterilgarda Ducati World Superbikes team for 2009.
Byrne, who was heavily linked with a move to the satellite Ducati outfit after been spotted in the team’s hospitality suite at Vallelunga last weekend, confirmed that he will be leaving the domestic superbikes championship after securing his second title at Silverstone on Sunday.
The former MotoGP rider has previous World Superbikes experience, being only one of two wildcard riders to have won a WSB race, the victory coming at Donington in 2003, is the first of two new riders that will be announced by Sterilgarda Ducati next season, with Ruben Xaus moving to BMW and Max Biaggi making the switch to Aprilia.
“Shakey”, who will make the move after seeing out the season with Airwaves Ducati, is relishing the opportunity to prove his talents on the world stage.
“I’m absolutely delighted to be joining the Sterilgarda Go eleven team to participate in the 2009 WSB championship,” said Byrne. “It’s the perfect progression for me having secured the 2008 BSB championship last weekend at Silverstone on very similar Ducati machinery, any team that can run riders of Max Biaggi and Ruben Xaus’s standard can only be at the top of their game,” he said.
“I look forward to benefiting from the team and Ducati’s experience to make the transition as straightforward as possible for me and can’t wait for my first opportunity to start working with my new team.”
Team manager Marco Borciani added: “For the 2009 season we will line up two new riders. I would like to thank Ruben Xaus who helped the team to grow up in the last three years and Max Biaggi who have brought prestige to our team. I wish the best to both the riders for their new adventures respectively on BMW and Aprilia.”
Byrne becomes the second rider this season to graduate from British Superbikes to WSB, with Suzuki’s Tom Sykes riding for the Yamaha factory team in 2009.
Honda’s Cal Crutchlow will also leave BSB at the end of the year to take up a rider with Yamaha in World Supersport.