Tyco Suzuki boss Philip Neill has said putting team new-boy PJ Jacobsen on an MCE British Superbike for 2013 is a gamble but he believes that with the right development, the youngster is destined for great things.
Neill considered putting the New Yorker on a Supersport bike for the coming season but the 19-year-old convinced him the premier class was the way forward, although it took a lot of thinking.
"Putting PJ on the Superbike was not an easy decision. The obvious choice would have been a season in Supersport, where I have no doubt he would have challenged for the title after his race win at Assen this year," said Neill.
“We considered every angle and had some detailed discussions with PJ, and he convinced me of his desire to ride a Superbike. Okay, it is a gamble for sure because of his lack of experience, but we really want to give him the chance, and of course we see him as a longer-term project, even though I suspect he may surprise a few people next year. I firmly believe that he has all the right ingredients to achieve something special at this level.
“Our team experience and the support of a great team-mate in Josh Brookes will be absolutely vital to PJ’s long term success. We haven’t set any specific goals for him for 2013, and only time will tell how quickly he adapts to a Superbike, but I think it is fair to say we are hopeful that he will be challenging for top six positions later in the year. Our most important task is to ensure that he is prepared and ready to face the various challenges that he will encounter during what is essentially a learning year.
“I have no doubt that this kid has the talent to reach a very high level in motorcycle racing. At this stage BSB is a great place for PJ to be and although we have no immediate plans to move onto the world stage just yet, I believe that PJ will have an opportunity to do that within the next few years.”