Penzkofer has consistently been one of Germany’s best performers in recent years and has been a regular in the World Supersport and Endurance Championships. The 33-year old has been a regular finisher in the top six of the German Supersport Championship, finishing 3rd in 2001 and 5th, with 4 wins, in 2007. More recently, he has been an instrumental part of BMW’s return to racing both in the Boxer Cup Series and the World Endurance Championship with considerable success. A race winner at the Horice and Frohburg pure road races, Penzkofer finished 2nd in the 2007 Macau Grand Prix and he looked odds-on for a similar position last year until he got knocked off by another rider.
Belgian rider Fissette is no stranger to road racing having made a sensational debut at the Ulster Grand Prix in 1997 when aged just 23. Second place behind Joey Dunlop and a new lap record, the first 120mph+ lap by a 250cc machine around Dundrod, catapulted him to the attention of road race fans and he backed this up a year later with more top ten results. Since then, Fissette has ridden in both the World Supersport and World Endurance Championships, claiming 1st and 2nd in the Superstock class at the Le Mans 24-Hour races in 2005 and 2004 respectively. The 34-year old took the Belgian Supersport Championship in 2005, adding the Superstock crown a year later, and made a brilliant debut at the Macau Grand Prix in 2008 when he finished 9th, the highest placed newcomer.
Both Penzkofer and Fissette were part of the impressive Macau Yamaha Racing Team in 2008 and will line up at the TT for the same squad, riding R1 Yamahas in the Superbike, Superstock and Senior races. Stefan Kuehn, who has previous experience on the Island with both the Klaffi Supersport and Bolliger teams, will be managing the two-man squad.
Talking about his TT debut, Penzkofer said:
“I’ve always been aware of the TT Races and its been an ambition of mine to compete at the biggest road race in the world. My performances on the roads have progressed steadily and although I know that the TT will present different challenges, I believe it will stand me in good stead. I am working hard at learning the circuit at the moment and I’m hopeful of giving a good account of myself at TT2009.”
“I’ve always wanted to compete at the TT but circumstances have prevented me from doing so until now when the right team structure is in place, I’m finally able to realise that ambition. The TT is the greatest road race in the world and it will be an honour to compete. I hope to have a good first year with some solid results and return for many years to come.”
Hon Martyn Quayle, MHK, Minister for Tourism and Leisure, commented:
“The entry list for TT2009 is getting stronger, and more exciting, all the time with new faces continually being added. Both Rico and Marc have excellent racing experience and I would anticipate that they will perform well around the Mountain Course. Without doubt, they are two of the biggest European stars to come to the TT for a long time. They have both beaten many of the UK’s best road racers out in Macau and have achieved fantastic results in World Championship races, so it is clear that they have bags of talent and I’m confident that they will both become TT regulars and stars of the future.”