Following a successful first venture into the Hannspree World Superbike Championship last year, team owner Paul Bird has joined forces with Kawasaki Motors Europe and will run the official factory Ninja ZX-10R in 2009 with Australian Broc Parkes and Japan's Makoto Tamada.
Both riders have good Superbike experience and are expected to show well for the Cumbrian-based team aboard the SuperCasino.com, Vent Axia and Kick Energy-backed machines.
27-year-old Parkes has been twice runner-up in the World Supersport Championship and also finished 11th in the 2002 SBK Championship aboard a privateer Ducati whereas Makoto, now 32, won three World Superbike races in the early years of this millennium, and followed that up with two wins in the 2004 MotoGP series.
Testing has gone well over the winter with Parkes and Tamada gelling well with both the bike and the team and both are confident of good performances going into the season opener.
"I'm really excited to be making the step-up to the Kawasaki World Superbike team after five years racing in Supersport. I've started the pre-season testing adapting to the Superbike so our expectations haven't been too high at this early stage. The testing has been really productive, particularly on Phillip Island, as we discovered a lot about the bike which we wouldn't have found until the race weekend had we not tested.
I'm really happy with the new team and my guys are working hard on developing the bike so we can hopefully get in the points come Phillip Island. I'd love to walk away with a top 10 finish for my home race, but we'll wait and see. I'll be giving it my absolute best."
"I'm feeling comfortable with the new structure and set up for 2009 and I believe the team and I have a mutual understanding of what we need to achieve and where we are headed. We share the same problems and I think we will progress in a positive direction in order to get the bike to its highest potential.
The pre-season testing has been beneficial and we have been working hard on solving some set-up issues ready for the season opener. Phillip Island is one of my favourite tracks from my GP days, except when it's windy, and I love the enthusiasm of the Australian crowd so I'm really looking forward to the race weekend."
"I'm confident we can get some good points on the board this weekend and that has to be the main aim. There's no reason why we can't score a top ten in Australia first time out but we're under no illusions as to the enormity of our task. We still are developing the bikes and the first couple of races will be hard but the aim is to get the opening two rounds under our belts and then make some major strides forward once we get back into Europe."
The opening race gets underway on Sunday 1st March at 12.00 local time (01.00 GMT) with race two at 15.30 (04.30 GMT) and British viewers can catch the action live on Eurosport.
Saturday 28 Feb
1045-1200 Superpole on Eurosport 2
1630-1730 Highlights on Eurosport 2
2100-2215 Highlights on Eurosport
Sunday 1 March
0100-0200 LIVE WSB Race 1 on Eurosport
0200-0300 LIVE WSS Race on Eurosport
0430-0530 LIVE WSB Race 2 on Eurosport
1030-1200 & 2130-2300 Highlights on Eurosport 2
1600-1830 Highlights on Eurosport