Alastair Seeley has announced his return to the MCE British Superbike Championship after signing with the Royal Air Force BMW team.
The 2015 National Superstock runner-up will compete in the premier class for the first time since 2012.
During his time away, Seeley also finished as the runner-up in the British Supersport Championship in 2013 and 2014.
Speaking about his return, Seeley said: “It is great to be back in the Superbike Championship, the elite class, again. I have been there before and know what it takes – I have had some seasons to regroup in Supersport and Superstock and I want to come back and pick up where I left off in 2012.
“I have obviously been keeping a close eye on BSB and it looks like it is not going to be easy with the level of riders on the grid and everyone is so close on times – but that is good for me and I am ready for the challenge.”
The former Superstock and Supersport champion knows what it takes to challenge towards the front of the BSB grid after competing in the Showdown during the 2010 season.
Seeley ended that year in sixth place, with one victory and three podium finishes. Seeley competed on BMW machinery last season and believes this could also work to his advantage.
He said: “I feel that my experience on the BMW in the Superstock class will help me this season and I am working with crew that I know already, which is a big bonus for me too. I want to start the season strongly, as when I was in the Showdown before you need to get yourself inside the top six and then to maintain it.
“We have a really good testing programme, so we should be able to start fighting from the opening round and moving forward from there. The team have proven they can be on the podium so I obviously want to try and make that happen again this year and be back in the Showdown again.”
Seeley and the team now have pre-season testing to look forward to ahead of the new campaign, which gets underway at Silverstone on April 8.
Team owner, Lee Hardy added: “For me Alastair has a large amount of unfinished business within the elite class and has a wealth of experience in BSB. Previously he has been a Showdown contender and also a race winner so the pedigree is there.
“We have an extensive testing schedule planned for most of March including many new parts to test. I am confident we can get the bike to how Alastair requires it and with confidence comes results; he could be a dark horse and one to watch.”