Just one week after announcing his return to the British Superbike Championship for 2017, Norton have announced this morning that Josh Brookes will ride the all-new SG6 alongside fellow Aussie, David ‘Davo’ Johnson, and he’s already aiming for a 132mph lap.
The two-man factory team will compete on the 230bhp race bike derived from the recently launched V4 SS road bike in both the Senior and Superbike TT races on the 37.73-mile Mountain Course at the beginning of June.
Norton CEO, Stuart Garner, also confirmed that the SG6 will feature the V4 Aprilia CRT motor with Norton’s own V4 engine being raced in 2018.
Brookes, the 2015 BSB Champion will be making his Norton debut returning to the TT following a two year break. He claimed fastest newcomer at the TT in 2013 finishing a best place of seventh in the 2014 Senior race with his fastest ever TT lap, a staggering 129.859mph, set in only his second year at the island.
While Johnson re-signs for Norton following a well-earned seventh place in last year’s Superbike TT and had a best lap of 130.87mph – making it the fastest ever British motorcycle around the TT course.
Speaking from his home in Australia, Brookes said: “I’ve been desperate to get back and race at the island. I like the history of the Norton and it will be so great to be a little part of the Norton story. It's just something that interests me, and I’m really excited by the project. It's always hard to predict results, especially around the island so I think it's important that I let it come to me. I've not been for two years, and I don't know how much the Norton bike has improved, but I hear great things about the bike.”
He continued: “My first ever race at the TT was in the Superbike and I got a top ten, so let's hope we are better than that at least, but realistically if we finish the races without a problem, and I'm in the 132mph club by the end of the fortnight then we’ll be celebrating.”
Fellow Australian Johnson said: “We did such a great job last year, we all worked awesomely as a team and I really felt at home with Norton. I knew the 2017 bike was going to be better again after what we learnt in 2016, so I wanted to stay and make the next step with Norton.”
The SG6 will feature the V4 Aprilia CRT motor with Norton’s own V4 engine being raced in 2018. Heavily based on the TT racer geometry wise, the V4 SS road bike is almost identical to the SG6 TT bike in terms of frame stiffness, weight distribution and chassis.
Garner said: “With first deliveries of V4 SS bikes not expected until the second half of 2017 it’s too early in the engine’s development to race the new Norton V4 engine given the dangers and endurance involved in competitive racing at the TT.”
Norton boss Garner said: “There are a couple of reasons why we wanted to sign Josh Brookes. Firstly, he gives us the opportunity of a world class short circuit rider to move along the V4 road bike development, and secondly, with his TT rider experience and his achievement of being fastest newcomer in 2013, Josh is clearly capable of a 130mph-plus lap. Given the requirements of the team at this stage of the project this makes him a perfect rider for Norton.”
Delighted that Johnson has returned, Garner said: “To come in last year and move the development on and do all but a 131mph lap was a huge achievement and ground-breaking for the team. There’s a huge amount of respect from everyone in the Norton team for everything he has achieved and Davo has more than earned his place back on the bike in 2017.”
He added, “We’ve further strengthened the team with the addition of former Norton Factory rider Ian Mackman joining the team as a race engineer. ‘Mackers’ rode for us in 2013 on the Norton SG1.”
Mackman joins experienced Norton Race Manager Johnny Cusack in the team along with TT legend Mick Grant who will continue in his role as Senior Advisor.