James Ellison will return to the Bennetts British Superbike series in 2019 after signing a deal to partner Peter Hickman at Smiths BMW.
Ellison had talked about retiring from racing in the UK but decided to have one last crack and will do it on the new S1000RR.
“First of all I just want to thank Alan, Rebecca and Darren for giving me this opportunity. I had an incredibly difficult 2018 season for various reasons, we had great pace but were lacking one key component that stopped me from getting the results which both myself and the TAG team were capable of,” said Ellison.
“They are such a friendly, family-run team that made me feel so welcome, so I want to say a huge thank you to them and I wish them the best of luck in the future.
“I figured it would be impossible to call 2018 my ‘last’ season in BSB after having so many successful seasons fighting for the championship and it is just not in my nature to walk away knowing I can still fight for the BSB title given the right tools.
“The Smiths Racing BMW team have had another strong season with Hicky proving they are true title contenders and I’m delighted to be teaming up with Hicky again.
“We are really good friends off track but of course tough rivals on it and I believe we will push each other all year and work closely together to speed up the development of the all-new BMW S1000RR. The support from the fans has been incredible, even when I was struggling, which means so much to me and I can’t wait to start testing in March.”