Ex-champ Brookes returns to BSB with TAG Yamaha

Picture: Aimie B

2015 MCE British Superbike Champion Josh Brookes will return to the series after signing a one-year deal with Rob Winfield’s Anvil TAG Yamaha team.

Brookes dominated the series two years ago on the Milwaukee Yamaha R1 and expects to be just as competitive in 2017 following a disastrous year in WorldSBK when his team switched to BMW power for a season before changing again to Aprilia in a deal that left the Australian out in the cold.

The Bringelly man has been selective over his deal for this season and left it as late as he could to find the right fit but says he is pleased to be back in BSB with a team that wants him, is enthusiastic and will do everything in their power to get the job done.

“I am pleased that after a poor year in WorldSBK I have been able to secure a ride in BSB. At the moment, last year is still a raw wound but I am very pleased to be able to come back to the series,” Brookes told BSN from his garage.

“What is important is that Rob is super-motivated as he has secured a top-level rider such as myself and it is an opportunity to grow. It’s inspiration for me to go to a motivated team that actually wants me to be there, and is spending the money to do the job. It’s important to have people believe in you and want you to do a good job for them.”

Brookes batted around several offers from other BSB teams, as well as ones from World Endurance and Japanese Superbikes but settled on BSB but it wasn’t as easy as it sounds.

“The difficulty at the moment is a lack of money. Three or four teams have dropped out of BSB recently. It’s because they couldn’t attract the budget required to run competitively so when you add a salary into the mix, there are very few who are prepared to step up either because they can’t or don’t want to.

“If a previous BSB champion takes a big wages cut, then that drops everyone else’s value. I took a stand. I know my value. I wasn’t trying to be greedy, I’m not asking for more than I am worth but if there is a deal to be done then everyone has to be comfortable.

“If you’re putting getting a request which outside my value, then you’re not going to be comfortable and if I am getting an offer that isn’t up to my value, then I’m not going to be comfortable. I explained to everyone who showed an interest that I have a value - the same as a motorbike had a value, a mechanic has a value, a tyre has a value.

“If you’re not willing to pay, then you’re not going to get the product. It’s a simple process and until a person was willing to express the same desire for me to join their team as I have to go there with the right values in mind, we weren’t going to come to an agreement until that was achieved.

“Rob saw an opportunity to get a top-level rider and was willing to pay the value of what that is. When I saw that, I took the opportunity with him.

“There wasn’t any point in waiting any longer. Rob offered me the ride, the salary and good bonuses compared to what I had been offered by other people. All the conditions were acceptable, clear and clean cut, so I accepted it. There were other offers at the time but not as good or it was in a championship I didn’t want to be.

“I don’t like my competition, I don’t hate my competition - they are all competition so it is no different from any other year I have raced in the championship. My goal is still the same and that is to maximise the potential and environment I am in. I won’t start focusing on other riders and what they are doing until the Showdown and hopefully we will be in a position to then focus on our main rivals.

“I think for me to win a second title would mean as much as the first because I have a constant hunger and desire for racing and remain as passionate as ever to leave Australia behind for the season to pursue a championship. I am always in search of results and improving on previous years. Every test, practice and qualifying session or the races I always approach with the same motivation and that is to try and beat the competition.”

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