Even before the official confirmation of what we all knew already – SMR will join with Aprilia in a factory supported RSV-4 team in 2017 and 18 – Josh Brookes knew there would be no place for him in the new set-up.
A hard pill for him to swallow, on a personal basis it appears, after winning BSB with the team as recently as 2015.
A tough global return 2016 – best of ninth in a race before finishing seventh in the wet in Germany – took its toll on Brookes’ long-term WorldSBK ambitions.
With almost every good ride already taken now, he is looking at a return to his non-Aussie alma mater. BSB.
“Partly because of the timing of Shaun’s notice of what he was doing next year and where I stood in those arrangements it has left things quite late,” said Brookes at the recent German WorldSBK round.
He had been eyeing up other opportunities for a time. “I would have liked to have tried MotoAmerica, because I am trying to do new things all the time and keeping inspired with new challenges,” said Brookes, who has even broken with the regular short circuit rider mould and given the IoM TT a go recently. “Yamaha have already well and truly signed up (in MotoAmerica) with their two riders and Suzuki could only offer a position if one of their riders had chosen to go elsewhere. But Suzuki were happy with both of their riders and both of their riders were happy with Suzuki, so there was not an opening there. Again it was short notice so it leaves you with a couple of teams in WorldSBK, who either want you to ride for free or bring money, which is purely impossible from my standpoint. The next is BSB.”
As the most recent BSB champion he will be in strong demand in the UK scene, no doubt. “I obviously have fond experiences at that championship so there are a lot of teams that would show that they want me to come back, and that is where I could earn a salary. I will always be racing motorbikes so long as I can afford to keep doing it. BSB is the healthiest domestic series that there is, so that will be the most logical step I will take.”