Glenn Irwin will make the switch to the JG Speedfit Kawasaki team for the 2019 Bennetts British Superbike season, replacing the outgoing Leon Haslam.
Irwin leaves the Be Wiser Ducati team after three seasons, whilst Haslam moves to World Superbike Championship (WSBK) to partner Jonathan Rea at the factory Kawasaki team.
The 28-year-old has used Kawasaki machinery before, having competed in the British Supersport Championship for Gearlink Kawasaki.
Speaking about the move, Irwin admitted that he is really excited about the next stage of his career. He said:
“I’m over the moon! I feel like I’ve served my apprenticeship in the BSB now and moving back to Kawasaki after some successful times in Supersport is the perfect opportunity. Also hearing the enthusiasm from the top at Kawasaki about me signing for them is worth its weight in gold. I thrive on that and I look forward to being in that environment.”
Irwin and the team will continue to receive support from the WSBK Kawasaki squad, with the Northern Irishman competing on a 2019 Kawasaki Ninja ZX-10RR. The new bike is expected to feature an array of enhancements over the previous model, including finger follower valve actuation and titanium connecting rods.
It’s expected that Irwin will get to experience his new bike for the first time in November, and he is eager to try it out for the first time. He commented:
“I can’t wait for my first ride of the new Kawasaki Ninja ZX-10RR. Also, I’m looking forward to learning from my new team given their experience and success over the past three seasons.
“I started paying close attention to the new 2019 Ninja ZX-10RR when the conversations began with Kawasaki. I believe the chassis is phenomenal and it will be a bike that can be ridden hard. The engine was already strong, so with the updated engine, we should have even more power and an even better handling bike. You only need to look at what the current bike has done, so it will be nice to jump on a proven package with some upgrades that will make the new model even better”
During his time with the Paul Bird team Irwin secured his maiden British Superbike victory, at Silverstone last season, and also picked up a number of podiums – including seven in 2018. He has also enjoyed success at road events, picking up victories at the North West 200 and Macau Grand Prix.
Racing Coordinator for Kawasaki Motors UK, Ross Burridge, expressed his excitement in signing a rider with Irwin’s record:
“We’ve known Glenn for a number of years now and we have watched his quick rise through the British Superbike ranks with some interest. We feel now is the time for Glenn to make a formidable assault on the title and we believe that the new Kawasaki Ninja ZX-10RR will be the perfect tool to help him achieve greatness.
“The JG Speedfit Kawasaki Team have done a fantastic job over the past couple of seasons, winning countless races and we can’t wait to see how the two will work together next year, hopefully notching up many more race wins between them!”
Irwin is currently fourth in the championship standings, level on points with third-placed Josh Brookes. The championship heads to Assen this weekend for the penultimate round of the season.