Josh Brookes has VisionTrack Ducati ‘agreement’ for 2022 BSB season

Josh Brookes says he has an agreement in place that will see him remain with VisionTrack Ducati for the 2022 British Superbike Championship (BSB)

Josh Brookes

Double British Superbike Champion (BSB) Josh Brookes says he is working to the assumption he will remain on the grid in 2022 with VisionTrack Ducati, saying an ‘agreement’ was reached before the end of last season.

One of the most successful riders in BSB history, Brookes has achieved 59 race wins and 115 podiums since making his debut in 2009, scoring titles in 2015 and 2020 with Milwaukee Yamaha and the Paul Bird Motorsport-prepared VisionTrack Ducati team respectively.

One of the series’ most steadfastly consistent front runners - having finished no lower than fifth overall in 11 seasons contested between 2009 and 2020 - Brookes endured a trying campaign in 2021, struggling for pace and points on the Ducati Panigale V4 R early on in the year.

A consistent run of form in the run up to the Title Showdown, however, saw him snatch the eighth and final spot in the last counted race, before going on to secure sixth overall in a result that somewhat flattered to deceive his otherwise disappointing form.

Speaking to Australia’s MCNews, Brookes says there wasn’t a clear reason for why his form dipped but reckoned a new specification engine was - despite its superior top speed - stopping him from putting grip down out of corners.

“The engine got updated from ‘19 to ‘20 and then updated again in 2021, obviously with every motivation to make things better, as nobody intends to make it worse, that’s not the motive, but the team committed to the latest spec’ engine and purchased them all ready for this season, and as the rounds went on it was becoming more evident to me that there was a problem.

“So when you know that chassis wise it is all exactly the same, and we even swapped swing-arms to check it wasn’t that, plus I had a crash in testing so we put a new chassis in, just to make sure it wasn’t any of these other elements that could be contributing, and all we were left to think was that it was the spec’ of the engine, because everything else seemed more or less the same.

“I wouldn’t say it was harder to ride, the bike felt very linear in the power but it just didn’t have any grip, maybe something to do with the harmonics of the engine, it’s getting a bit technical, but it wasn’t that it was difficult, it was that it didn’t perform in regards to grip.

“The desire to get more power was achieved, because we topped almost every top speed for all the tracks. But if there was a speed check that was on the exit of the corner, I would have been well down that list. 

“But if it was just middle of a long straight I was always top, or in the top two. But most times top. So that’s more or less what I was dealing with.”

Josh Brookes set for 2022 BSB with VisionTrack Ducati

Having been out-performed by his team-mate Christian Iddon, Brookes’ spot in the team was considered under threat by the looming presence of Tom Sykes, who has been linked with the PBM team for several weeks after exiting WorldSBK.

However, more recent rumours suggest it is Iddon - fourth overall in 2021 - that would exit instead, though much depends on whether Sykes signs on the dotted line or considers a move to Pedercini Kawasaki in WorldSBK.

Brookes appears to back that statement up by saying he made an agreement with PBM in 2021, even if he admits it has not been ratified.

“We had an agreement made before the end of season last year, but I think the reason for having no press releases and the like, is that I believe at the moment the team is in the process of trying to bring new people into the racing sponsorship world, so if and when that’s achieved is when announcements will be made. 

“They will try and put as much focus on a new sponsors as possible but for the moment it’s just an agreement that we know we’ve got.”