Ruben Xaus will leave the Sterilgarda Ducati team at the end of the season after agreeing to join the new BMW Motorrad WSB team for 2009.
The Spaniard has agreed a two-year contract with BMW, who will be making their first foray into the World Superbike Championship with the launch of the BMW S1000RR and the signing will be seen as a big coup for the German marque.
BMW had pledged to recruit one “established” WSB rider when they first announced their intention to join the championship and Xaus, who has stood on 34 podiums, ten times as a winner, since 1998 is the ideal candidate according to the company’s Executive Vice President Development & Model Lines, Peter Mueller.
“Ruben is a strong and combative rider, full of enthusiasm and with a passion for racing,” said Mueller. “This fits our philosophy completely and together we will take on this new challenge.
“We know that the Superbike World Championship is a very hard and competitive series, but we are not entering it just to make up the numbers: we will be taking part because we want to win! Of course, we are starting with a brand new bike but, together with Ruben, we believe we can progress quickly and maybe surprise a few people along the way.”
Xaus himself admitted that he is relishing the prospect of becoming BMW’s primary rider and feels that the team can provide a competitive bike for 2009.
“When I met the BMW guys, I was very impressed by their commitment, their passion for racing and their ideas about the future,” said the 30-year-old.
“We discussed how the WSBK project was going and I realised that I wanted to be a part of it straightaway. It is not often that you get the chance to start a completely new project, but I am really looking forward to the challenge.
“Although it’s going to be tough racing a new bike, I believe BMW will give me a good bike and great support and that’s all I ask for.”