Anvil TAG Yamaha team owner Rob Winfield has bagged the services of 2015 MCE British Superbike Champion Josh Brookes and knows the Australian is only coming back to do one job - take a second crown.
Since graduating from Supersport, the squad have enjoyed some success in the blue riband class but now Winfield wants to play on the same field as Paul Bird, Havier Beltran and the rest of the title-winning teams so came up with the cash to secure Brookes to ride alongside son Shaun Winfield.
“We raced last season using Yamaha and we had an eventful year. We plodded on as best we could but halfway through the year I sat down with Gary (Winfield, team manager) and looked at what we would do. We got Shaun signed up at Assen so people would know we were going to run again and then sat back,” Winfield told BSN.
“I knew there were teams dropping out of the series, Superstock riders stepping up and we worked closely with Stuart Higgs. We knew there were certain riders looking to come back to the series from the world championship. We didn’t rush into anything, getting someone quickly and possibly making a mistake.
“We spoke to various riders and then waited until after Motorcycle Live until we put things into motion. We contacted Josh in the middle of December and he said he was able to talk. We hammered out a deal.”
Winfield says the team will remain private with no help from Yamaha UK or Europe - all that support has gone to the new McAMS mob - but believes their experience plus help from K-Tech suspension should stand Brookes in good enough stead to be a challenger.
“He was the guy who won it on a Yamaha, on the same model, so who better to have on the bike than him. We’ve already made a good start on engine building and the first one should be ready to go soon. Shaun is going to test both engine specs as soon as he can, and once we are happy we will go to Jerez.
“Josh is only coming back to do one job, he wants to win it again. We are completely behind him. We really needed a top flight rider this year and I think it’s going to be an eye-opener for a lot of people.”
Brookes’ first planned test will be at Jerez in early March and the team will have their 2017 livery on display at Autosport International from tomorrow.