Josh Brookes back in BSB on a Yamaha.
Following a torrid time in WSB, former British SuperBike champion Josh Brookes will contend the 2017 BSB Championship with the Tag Anvil Yamaha team. Josh will ride a Yamaha YZF R1 alongside Shaun Winfield, on the bike that he used to clinch the 2015 BSB Championship with a couple of rounds to spare. Following the title win, Josh made a logical move to World SuperBikes, but switched from Yamaha to BMW. Josh had a tough time and was unable to fulfill his potential due to a lack of cohesion between Milwaukee backed BMW team and the apparent lack of manufacturer support. “I know it may not look like it from the outside looking in, but I have no regrets from the 2016 season. It was a tough time, at times it felt like there was a lack of flexibilty to make changes to the bike that I felt we needed in order to improve the performance of the bike and our results on track. I’m certainly not going to run around calling SMR and BMW a bunch of bastards, because they’re not. The plans I have with Tag Anvil Yamaha are exciting and I can move on from SMR knowing that sometimes, business comes first. In the past I’ve been in the position where I’ve put another rider out of a job because a team has wanted me more, the shoe was on the other foot this time round, that’s racing. If it’s taught me anything, it’s helped me understand that I can’t just walk into the pits at round one of BSB this season and demand a bunch of changes before any need to be made. I know that the team has some great ideas for the 2017 season already and I’m never going to build a relationship with the team if I ignore those ideas and stamp my feet on day one. The confidence I’ll carry into the season knowing that I’m back on a version of the bike that I won the title on in 2015 is high, why wouldn’t it be?”
Over the moon to have signed Josh on a one-year contract, Team Owner Rob Winfield added: “This is certainly the biggest deal we have put together as a team, and I’m extremely proud of how far we have come and signing Josh certainly shows our intention for this year. We want to show the potential we know the Yamaha has, and bringing in the 2015 Champion, who won the title with this very bike is a very exciting prospect. Josh is extremely talented, and one tough year in World Superbikes hasn’t turned him into a bad rider overnight. We have a high hopes for him this year, with the extensive testing programme that has been put in place, we certainly are going to hit the ground running. We have set only a few goals for Josh, he knows what they are, but it’s important he enjoys his racing again and being back on a bike he loves will only mean good things. This year the competition has risen another notch, but so have our ambitions, so we aren’t here to make up the numbers.”
With rumours abound of a road racing programme with Norton for 2017 as well, it look like we’ll get to see plenty of Josh Brookes this year. Fingers crossed he gets everything sorted, if he does we are in for a hell of a year in both BSB and on the roads. It made sense to ask current BSB champion, Shakey Byrne, what he thought about the return of the 2015 champion and how it might impact his focus on the season ahead. “I couldn’t care less about him coming back, it changes nothing. I’m really looking forward to racing the new additions to the championship this year, but as ever, I’ll concentrate solely on myself. Concerning myself with other riders doesn’t help me get my job done!”