James Haydon will don Rizla Suzuki leathers and race as a substitute for John Reynolds for the next two rounds of the British Superbike Championship at Oulton and Mondello Park.
Fans-favourite JR, recovering from a broken right leg, visited his doctor at the Queens Medical Centre in Nottingham this morning. Afterwards he agreed with his Rizla Suzuki team to sit out from the Oulton and Mondello Park rounds to give himself sufficient time to heal. A decision on when he will race again will be made before the sixth round of the series at Croft in North Yorkshire on June 5th.
Haydon, 30, from Sistony in Andorra, has agreed to substitute for JR in both rounds and is eager to ride the Rizla Suzuki. He has a bright history with Suzuki as he rode for the Crescent team in 1998 and 1999, taking five wins in the Superbike class.
Rizla Suzuki ace Scott Smart is going to Oulton Park hoping to improve on his best ever result on the GSX-R1000 - a fifth place at Mallory Park last weekend. Superbike racing starts at 13:15 on Bank Holiday Monday, May 2nd, at Oulton Park in Cheshire. Catch all the action live on Sky Sports or the following Sunday in a highlights package on Channel 4.
"I have discussed my situation with my doctor and team manager, Robert Wicks. We have decided rather than trying to ride through my injury, I should rest and heal properly before coming back to fully competitive racing. I want to be in a position to ride aggressively and win races.
"Rizla Suzuki has supported me through thick and thin this year and this is the right decision for my health and for the team. I will be back again as soon as I can - hopefully at Croft in early June - and I aim to thank my team and fans with race victories. In the meantime, I'll still be at the races for Rizla Suzuki, giving whatever advice I can to Scott and James to help them score some good results for the team. I start the next phase of my rehabilitation with intensive physiotherapy from tomorrow morning onwards."
"This is a wonderful opportunity for me. Rizla Suzuki is a team I have always wanted to join and is the most professional in the British Superbike Championship. The GSX-R1000 looks awesome and I can't wait to try it out this weekend!
"My heart goes out to JR because I know exactly what he is going through as a rider. No rider wants to inherit a ride because another competitor is injured. I have just come back from an injury to my left hand and will build up slowly at Oulton Park. Once I am comfortable on the Rizla Suzuki I don't see any reason why we can't be running at the front."
"I know that the podium is now within reach and will be trying my hardest at Oulton Park. The beauty of the Rizla Suzuki team is that every time we go out on the GSX-R1000 we make progress and we all know we are close to being at the front challenging for wins. I agree that this is the right decision for John and look forward to having him in the garage at the weekend."
Robert Wicks, Team Manager:
"Discussing with JR whether he should race or not at Oulton and Mondello Park has been the most difficult thing I have had to do since becoming Team Manager. After discussing the best way forward with him and the team, we strongly believe giving him the next two rounds off will significantly assist his recovery.
"The rigorous early season programme of testing and racing in BSB has not helped JR's rehabilitation and it is now clearly evident that it is in his best interests to rest. We fully anticipate JR racing during the mid-to-second half of the season and once fit, I am certain he is going to be challenging for race wins. John has nothing to prove to anyone right now - the fact that he got on his Rizla Suzuki at Brands Hatch just 38 days after breaking his leg so severely says it all.
"Our thanks go to James for stepping in at such short notice. We have every confidence he will be competitive on the Rizla Suzuki.
"Scott proved at Mallory Park that a top result is within our grasp and the team is looking for him to step up a gear in performance at Oulton Park. He and the team are getting stronger with every race and that progress will continue this weekend."