Reigning MCE British Superbike Champion Josh Brookes will return to the Suzuka Eight-Hours this year when he partners Johann Zarco and Takuya Tsuda in the Yoshimura Suzuki team after being given dispensation to switch manufacturers by Milwaukee BMW boss Shaun Muir.
Brookes last rode for the team in 2013 when he stood on the podium and he will have reigning Moto2 champ Zarco also in his corner, adding substantial weight to the rumour the Frenchman has signed deal with the Ecstar Suzuki MotoGP team for next year. Tsuda is the team’s All-Japan Superbike rider and completes a trio that will benefit from a full works package including Bridgestone tyres.
“I like the Suzuka race, even though you ride round telling yourself you will never do this again and then as soon as it is is over, you’re wondering what you can do differently next year,” said Brookes, speaking to bikesportnews.com.
“Yeah, I am looking forward to having Zarco as a team-mate as he is a world champion, but also I am interested in how he adapts to a Superbike after his Moto2 experience, it’s not often that Superbike and MotoGP people get in the same team, so I am curious to see what he says.”
The team will run the existing GSX-R1000, not the brand new one, as it is a proven podium bike and at the peak of its development.
“I’ve never been to Suzuka, but I like to train with road bikes, I have good feelings on them, and it’ll be good to try the race and be a part of Suzuki. My plan is to do well and to try and be a part of Suzuki for 2017; I need to prove what I can do to take the dream to go to MotoGP,” said Zarco, speaking at Le Mans yesterday.
“I have a plan to test with Suzuki – but that doesn’t mean that I have a place with them just yet. But for sure, the plan is not to be with another brand for the next year – although now that Valentino has signed a two-year deal, I’m in no hurry; my dream is to one day race him.”