Luke Stapleford will line-up alongside Bradley Ray at Buildbase Suzuki for this year’s Bennetts British Superbike Championship.
The 2015 British Supersport Champion returns to the UK after spending three seasons in the World Supersport Championship (WSS). The 27-year-old spent the majority of his time in the world championship on a Triumph, before switching to Yamaha mid-way through 2018. He achieved a best finish of fourth and secured one pole position during his time in WSS.
Stapleford has competed in BSB previously, riding for GBmoto Kawasaki at Silverstone and Brands Hatch in 2015 after he had secured his British Supersport title. He would score points in two of the five races he competed in.
Speaking about his full-time BSB debut, Stapleford admitted that he wants the feeling of winning again following his time in WSS:
“I’ve got a good relationship with Steve [Hicken – team manager] and the team, and we’ve worked together before and we know each other well. We’d talked in the past but honestly I was still enjoying riding the 600. But we talked again after last season and I was at a point where I wanted a change from what I was doing in World Supersport – I was riding in a family-run team and honestly it was a lot of effort that took the shine off racing a motorbike a little bit. I’d had a few offers in BSB before, after the title in 2015, but now I feel the timing and the package is right. It’s going to be hard, I know that, but I think we’ll get there.
“We’ve not set any specific targets so much, and we’re being realistic, but at the same time my goal is to be at the front. It’s going to take time to get up to speed and a lot of hard work, but that’s where we want to be and I know the team and the bike can be there. The feeling in 2015 of winning the British Supersport title is what’s kept me going, and I want the feeling of winning races, and eventually a championship, again.”
Stapleford replaces Richard Cooper in Buildbase’s BSB team, with the Nottinghamshire rider heading back to the Superstock 1000 Championship. Cooper won the Superstock 1000 title in 2011 and finished as runner-up in 2017.