Vittorio Iannuzzo will return to the MCE British Superbike grid this season for his first full campaign in the series after signing for Gearlink Kawasaki.
The 2002 European Superstock champion made his BSB debut last season, making several appearances throughout the year.
The Italian has spent most of his career in the World Supersport and World Superbike Championships, but is now relishing the opportunity of competing full-time in BSB.
Iannuzzo said: “I am proud to be part of this team because they are already one of the top teams in the Supersport Championship and when I met with them I had the feeling that they also want to become the same in the Superbike class, so together we can have goals for the season ahead.
“The team has some really cool people and we have a good test schedule planned so for sure it should be an easier start to the season this time for me compared to last year. I last rode a Kawasaki in 2008, but it was a long time ago, so I don’t think it will be possible to compare but I feel I have more experience now – we will be ready for the first round.”
The announcement means that the championship will now be represented by nine different nationalities in 2016, with Britain, Ireland, America, Australia, Japan, Sweden, Czech Republic, Denmark and now Italy all having riders in the series.
Gearlink Kawasaki team owner, Michael de Bidaph added: “I am really happy to have signed Vittorio for the 2016 British Superbike season. I was in talks with him last year but at that time he had other commitments so I am now delighted to be working together this season.
“It will certainly be a challenge for both of us especially as Vittorio is not that familiar with the British circuits but I am confident that, with the passion we both have to succeed, we will be able to have a great season.”
The 2016 BSB season officially gets underway on Friday, April 8 at Silverstone.