Further to the announcement two weeks ago that defending MCE BSB champion Shane 'Shakey' Byrne will remain with the Paul Bird Motorsport team for the 2016 MCE Insurance British Superbike Championship, the Penrith-based team wishes to announce their further plans.
Joining Byrne in the team will be Ulsterman Glenn Irwin whereby the 25-year-old from Carrickfergus will make the step up from the Motorpoint British Supersport Championship. Irwin is a triple Irish champion and former British Supersport Cup champion and currently occupies third place in this year's British Supersport title race.
Both Byrne and Irwin will race under the Be Wiser banner following the recent association between the leading insurance brand and Paul Bird's team. The deal sees a multi-year association with the nine-times British and National champions who have also sampled victories at World Superbike and MotoGP level.
The machinery that the team will use is the fully factory-supported Ducati Panigale R which will see a return to the marque whereby Steve Hislop and Shane Byrne both claimed British Superbike Championships for the Italian company under the MonsterMob Ducati branding in the early 2000s.
The team will waste no time in getting up to speed as they test in Valencia immediately after Brands Hatch with a heavy winter testing schedule thereafter in preparation for the 2016 MCE Insurance British Championship season which gets underway at Silverstone on April 10th 2016.
Andrew Dunkerley, Marketing Director, Be Wiser Insurance: "We are delighted to become the title sponsor of PBM, a team that is always professionally managed and which has a proud history in the BSB series. I am pleased and excited to see Ducati's commitment to the BSB series and I am sure that the highly experienced and successful 'Shakey' will be a great mentor for Glenn Irwin in his first season in BSB. I expect to see the Be Wiser Ducati team being competitive for the 2016 championship and it will be great to see our Be Wiser Owl logo on the new Ducati."
Tim Maccabee, Managing Director, Ducati UK: "We are delighted to be associated with Paul Bird and his team and very excited about the 2016 MCE BSB season. Ducati has an unparalleled history in Superbike racing and this next chapter is one we are looking forward to given the success PBM have had in the sport. We have received very positive support from Ducati Corse about this project and look forward to a successful season with Shakey, Glenn and the rest of the PBM team."
Paul Bird, Team Owner: "2016 will be our 21st consecutive year in racing and we are the first team to confirm our line-up for next season, which demonstrates our intention of challenging for the MCE BSB championship. In Shakey we have the most successful rider in the history of the series and we know he'll be very competitive. Glenn is a rider I've had my eye on for a while and is a huge talent so now is the time to step up to a Superbike and I've every confidence in his ability. It's fantastic to have a reputable company like Be Wiser Insurance as our title sponsor as the brand fits perfectly with our team and it's a long-term association like most of our sponsors in the past. It's also great to be back working with the Ducati factory which will see us reunited with the brand which gave us most of our early successes. It's an honour to be entrusted to deliver the results as a factory-backed team, which we aim to do. We are pleased to also welcome Hager back as sponsors for 2016 too."
Notes to Editors:
Paul Bird Motorsport (PBM) are winners of over 160 races in British Superbike Championship, MotoGP CRT, World Superbike Championship, 125cc, 250cc, Supersport British Championships, Superstock National Championships, Isle of Man TT, North West 200, Daytona, Macau GP, and British domestic races. Points scorers in 125cc, 250cc and 500cc GPs, Points scorers in World Supersport, podium finishers in WSB, Superpole winners in World Superbike. They are based at Langwathby near Penrith in Cumbria.
British Superbike Champions 2002/2003/2012/2014, British Supersport Champions 2002, British Superbike Rider's Cup Champions 2014, British 250cc Champions 1999, National Superstock 1000 Champions 2012, National Superstock 600 Champions 2011, Isle of Man TT winners 1999/2000/2015, Daytona winners 1999/2000, NW200 winners, Macau GP winners, WSB race winners, MotoGP CRT race winners. National Rally Champions 2005.
Paul Bird Motorsport in the British Superbike Championship 2000 - 2015 (to Silverstone)
Races Entered: 475 Pole Positions: 51 Race Wins: 72 Podiums: 99 Fastest Laps: 62 Record Laps: 27