Newspaper article Evening Gazette (Middlesbrough, England)

CHAMP TO RETURN; Hutchinson Joins Hill at Swan Yamaha Superbikes

Newspaper article Evening Gazette (Middlesbrough, England)

CHAMP TO RETURN; Hutchinson Joins Hill at Swan Yamaha Superbikes

Article excerpt

REIGNING MCE Insurance British Superbike champion Tommy Hill will be back with Guisborough-based Swan Yamaha to defend his crown in 2012.

And TT record-breaker Ian Hutchinson will join the team as a replacement for Michael Laverty, who has moved to HM Plant Honda.

Hill won the title in sensational style after finishing just 0.006 ahead of rival John Hopkins in the final round at Brands Hatch following a breath-taking last lap battle for supremacy.

His return makes him the first BSB champion to defend the No 1 plate since John Reynolds in 2005 and his mission is now to become only the third rider to win consecutive titles.

Five-time Isle of Man TT winner Hutchinson joins him at Victoria Court for his first full season of BSB racing after a dramatic comeback from a broken tibia and fibula which required several operations to save his leg.

He was sidelined from the crash, in the penultimate round of the 2010 season, until the Macau Grand Prix last month where he celebrated a podium finish.

"At the end of last season after winning the title I was speaking to different teams and looking at the different championships," admitted Hill, "but I knew I needed to have the complete package.

"I have a lot of fans in BSB and I think having a British champion trying to hold on to the No 1 plate is something to get excited about. I certainly am.

"I really wanted to stay with Yamaha and build on the results and our relationship.

"The Swan Yamaha team have won one BSB title but now we are looking at how we can improve so we can do it again.

"The consistency with the team is very important and they have already started looking at what we can do to move forward again.

"The rule changes don't worry me as through most of my career I haven't used traction control.

"I think it will now come down more to rider input and also working as a team to get the chassis set up right. …

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