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British presence in MotoGP 2004 increases as Byrne signs up with Aprilia

British presence in MotoGP 2004 increases as Byrne signs up with Aprilia

British presence in MotoGP 2004 increases as Byrne signs up with Aprilia

Britain has boosted its representation in MotoGP for 2004 with the inclusion of two new riders in just two days.

Following World Superbike Champion Neil Hodgson's deal with the new D'Antin Ducati team at the weekend in Valencia, British Superbike Champ Shane Byrne will be linking up with the factory Aprilia team to replace the departing Colin Edwards. The latter will join Sete Gibernau in the Gresini Honda camp while Byrne's team-mate with the Italian set-up is still be to be announced after the manufacturer confirmed that Nori Haga will not be a part of their plans for ‘04.

With veteran GP campaigner Jeremy McWilliams looking likely to stay with Proton, the UK could have three riders on factory machinery come the first race at Welkon next April in what is a major lift for the sport in the country after it has been televised this season on the BBC.

Byrne has been a major force on the British Superbike scene, recognised as one of the leading series in the world with various works-backed teams, riding a Ducati. He sprang into the global spotlight with a double wildcard win in the WSB round at Brands Hatch earlier this year.

"I am pleased to accept this deal," said ‘Shakey' who put pen to paper over the weekend. "To ride for a factory like Aprilia is a real honour. I am under no illusions about how challenging it will be, but I will give it 110% for my fans in Britain."

The 26 year old is set to throw his leg over the machine for the first time in private tests at the end of November.

Tags:
MotoGP, 2003

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