Rutter, Hickman form MSS Colchester line-up
Michael Rutter and Peter Hickman will ride for MSS Colchester Kawasaki in the 2012 MCE British Superbike Championship, it is confirmed.
MSS Colchester Kawasaki has announced its all-new rider line-up for the 2012 MCE British Superbike Championship, with series veteran Michael Rutter joining 2011 season standout Peter Hickman.
Fan favourite Rutter arrives in the team as the most experienced rider in the BSB paddock having made 370 starts since making his debut almost two decades ago.
Still a reputed force at BSB level, Rutter finished fifth overall in 2010 and came close to reaching the 'Title Showdown in 2011 aboard a Ducati and is confident he can enjoy one of his best seasons yet aboard the Kawasaki ZX-10R
The deal marks a return to MSS Colchester for Rutter, who competed with the team during its first season of BSB racing in 2007. Though he could only manage 12th overall on that occasion, Rutter feels the team has come a long way since then.
"I'm really looking forward to getting on the Kawasaki Ninja ZX-10R for 2012, I know the power is good and having watched the riders clocking up podiums last year, I could see the whole machine is a good package," said Rutter, who also started three races for MSS Colchester Kawasaki in 2009 in place of the injured Simon Andrews.
"I also think the new 'Ten' is a good bike for UK tracks with the way it steers. It's true when I rode for Nick in 2007 we struggled a bit with set-up but the bike is completely different now and to be fair to them it was MSS's first go in the main BSB class, whereas now they have great pedigree and are a much stronger team all round.
"I do like Nick [Morgan], we go back a long way and I know I'll be able to get on with the job without all the messing around too. In terms of expectation it's hard to say how it will all work but my aim is to get into that top six Showdown and by then I know we'll be firing on all four cylinders. Then with the way the points work- anything could happen! I can't wait to get out on the new bike and show there's still some life in the old dog yet!"
Hickman, meanwhile, comes to MSS Colchester Kawasaki following his breakthrough season in 2011 aboard the Tyco Honda. Scoring 17 top ten finishes, including a podium at Thruxton, Hickman beat several better fancied riders to end the season in ninth overall, earning him an opportunity on the ZX-10R.
"I've been talking to Nick for a couple of years but it came together for 2012 over the winter and I've got to say I'm really chuffed to be with such a professional team. I keep coming back to Kawasaki; I won the Superstock Cup in 2004 on one and raced one again in Superstock in 2005 before two years on the Hawk Kawasaki bike in 2006-7 with some really good results in the first year.
"The new rules in BSB should maybe close the gap between the very top riders and the rest of the field but I'm sure it will still be the same faces up the front. That said, I haven't got to re-learn anything as I only experienced traction control for the first time last season and even then had it running in the background rather than using it properly.
"I'm bringing my crew chief with me so it will be good to have a bit of consistency and I know Nick runs a great team. I feel like I've earned my place on the BSB grid now and with this package and team there's no reason why we can't be aiming for the top six, even with such a strong field."
Having fronted Kawasaki's efforts in the British Superbike Championship since 2007, MSS Colchester face in-house competition from Paul Bird Motorsport in 2012, while the PR Racing and Pr1mo Bournemouth teams will also enter a pair of ZX-10Rs each this season.