One-time Isle of Man TT winner James Hillier will join road racing debutants OMG Racing for 2020 after he parted ways with his long-time team Bournemouth Kawasaki last week.
Hillier made his TT debut in 2008 with Bournemouth Kawasaki and tallied up 13 podiums across the various classes, as well as a win in the Lightweight race in ’13.
He admitted last month that he had “itchy feet” for some time and had considered seeking out other options, but the right opportunity never emerged.
Hillier will partner David Johnson on BMW machinery in the Superbike and Superstock classes and on Yamaha R6s in Supersport.
Speaking exclusively to Autosport about the announcement, Hillier said: “There’s going to be a lot to work on and adapt to, but I’ve got no doubt that the potential is there, otherwise I wouldn’t be doing it.”
The new BMW S1000RR is proven to be the strongest package on the roads, with Peter Hickman winning twice on the bike at the TT, once at the North West 200 and four times in the big bike events at the Ulster Grand Prix as part of his record clean sweep.
Hickman also established the Ulster GP as the world’s fastest road race again with a lap of 136.415mph on the S1000RR.
When asked if stepping onto the BMW was the final step he needed to win big bike TTs, Hillier said: “I do think what I’ve had in the past has been capable, but it just never worked out and something never quite clicked.
“So, I think starting with a clean sheet and a new bike and a new team, it’ll just reset things a little bit and we’ll see what we can do with that.
“The BMW looks good, it’s a proven bike. So with some good testing in and hit the ground running.
“Obviously, it’s very different doing lots of laps on short circuits in sunny Spain, but I’ve looked at the bike a lot on paper and facts and figures, and what I’ve heard of the new bike, and it’s certainly up to the job.
“I think the biggest thing for me is just the whole transition and a fresh page, because I just want to start again and reset and see what we can do.”
Hillier confirmed that “we’ll be doing some BSB [British Superbikes] prior to the roads”, though insists short circuit race time isn’t the “be all and end all” to success on the roads.
Autosport understands OMG is seriously evaluating adding a third rider to its roster in 2020.
Numerous big names, including Michael Dunlop, Ian Hutchinson and John McGuinness are yet to firm up their plans for the 2020 season.
McGuinness is still currently under contract with Norton but revealed to Autosport last month that he’d held talks with Paul Bird Motorsport about running Ducati machinery next year.
Autosport understands McGuinness has three options he is considering, and a decision will be made in the new year.