Former WorldSBK star Sylvain Barrier will contest the 2018 MCE British Superbike season after signing a deal to join Peter Hickman at Smiths BMW.
Barrier was FIM Superstock Cup champion in 2012 and 2013 and following a stint in the factory BMW Italia World SBK team thereafter, last year he raced in the MotoAmerica Superbike class where he finished in 15th place after a serious injury sustained early in the season scuppered his chances.
“I’m looking forward to racing in BSB and have already ridden at Cadwell Park with Peter who is not only fast, he’s a great guy too! I know it will be tough learning the tracks I don’t know and there are times I may struggle, but we have plans to do track days at the unfamiliar ones, so I know the logistics of them before we race there,” said the Frenchman.
“We have tests planned over winter, so I can get used to the bike and my team, and I shall enjoy working with a family-based team. Alan and Rebecca have the same mentality as my own family, so I will give 100% and hope we can be competitive.”
30-year-old Hickman from Louth in Lincolnshire remains with Alan and Rebecca Smith’s team for a second successive season having finished in an impressive fourth place in the 2017 series. Hickman had a stellar season by claiming Smith Racing’s first ever BSB race win, which he did in style at Thruxton in August, whilst taking himself and the team into the title-deciding Showdown too for a first time.
Hickman had a fantastic year at the major International road races too and plans to ride the Smiths BMW1000RR at the North West 200, Isle of Man TT Races, Ulster Grand Prix and Macau Grand Prix in 2018, alongside the full season in BSB.
“This will be the first time in my career I’ve stayed with the same team on the same bike, so I’m delighted to be back with the Smiths team and on the BMW for 2018. We had a great season this year and we can now hit the ground running which can only benefit us,” he said.
“We know we have a lot more to come so I can’t wait to get started and I genuinely feel I can push for the BSB championship next year. We had a great package on the roads too and it’s great to get everything sorted early, so we can focus 100% on the goals we want to achieve in 2018.”