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Penzkofer fields strong team for 2013 TT

Tuesday 19 March 2013
Steve Mercer joins Rico Penzkofer's team for the 2013 Isle of Man TT fuelled by Monster Energy

A strong line-up of racers has been assembled by for the 2013 Isle of Man TT fuelled by Monster Energy.

German Endurance Superstock World Champion team will contest the three 1000cc races.

Led by the recently retired TT racer Rico Penzkofer, the team will field four riders, with Steve Mercer heading the line up, ably supported by Swiss racer Herve Gantner, Japan’s Yoshinari Matsushita and exciting German newcomer Steven Michels.

They will ride BMW machinery, with Mercer on the HP4 Superbike and the other three on the S1000RR.

Mercer will come into his 5th TT keen to crack the top 10 for the first time having taken 12th place for the last two years in the Dainese Superbike race. Last year saw him record his best ever lap of the Mountain Course at 126.323mph, also earning his first silver replica. He will contest the Dainese Superbike, Royal London 360º Superstock and PokerStars Senior TT races.

Mercer said:

“I'm delighted to be part of for 2013 - I've raced Rico in various different races over the last couple of years and have always been very impressed by the standard of his bikes and team.”

“I welcome the opportunity to ride for a team with so much experience - particularly as for 2013, the team has been working with the BMW S1000rr and HP4 from day one. Hopefully I can add my experience into the team and between us we can get the results we are all looking for.”

Gantner made his TT debut in 2010, and has already broken the 120mph barrier and picked up two bronze replicas. Having missed the 2012 races after injuring his hand in a practice spill, he’ll be looking to better his results of 2011 when he took a best finish of 27th in the second Monster Energy Supersport race.

He said:

“After the bad luck during last year, where I had to miss the races due to injury, I am ready to bounce back this season.”

“That this possibility comes with the squad of Penz13 is a great pleasure. I know the BMW machinery from previous seasons and I will try to lower my best lap time at the TT once again.”

Matsushita is also coming into his 4th year of competition at the TT and both he and Gantner will line up in the same three 1000cc races as Mercer.

He said:

“I am just overwhelmed to having reached an agreement with this team once again. It will be my third TT in the team of Rico and I am really looking forward to it.”

The fourth member of the ambitious team is young German Michels, who will also contest the Dainese Superbike, Royal London 360º and PokerStars Senior races. The 22-year-old contested the International Road Race Championship last year where, despite missing the final round, he took an excellent 5th place overall in his first season of racing on the roads.

After taking a win at the opening round at Schleiz, he went on to take further podium positions at Hengelo and Chimay and only finished outside of the top 5 once. A product of the Red Bull Rookies Cup, Michels has also been a regular top 10 finisher in the German IDM Superbike and Supersport Championships.

Michels explained:

“After on year in the IRRC, where I gained my first experiences in Real Road Racing, this is another big step for me. The TT at the Isle of Man is one of the most famous races in the world and I will be part of it. Road Racing thrills me and I am happy about this opportunity.”

“This will be my highlight so far! I want to learn the track as good as possible and hope to be amongst the fastest rookies. Furthermore I am excited what Penz can teach me about the Isle of Man as he is the fastest ever German around there.”

Team Manager Penzkofer added:

“I am disappointed not to be racing myself but being a team manager is the next best thing. I was keen to stay involved in this great event and I think that we have a good team line up that will help and complement each other.”

“The roads have always been my passion and that’s why I want to heighten their profile by bringing my own team and a strong German squad. I want to push the topic of Road Racing and that’s why we are bringing 4 riders to the TT.”

Isle of Man Government TT and Motorsport Manager Paul Phillips said:

“If there was one line up that highlighted the international nature of the TT this is it. Rico made a great impact at the TT and was unlucky to have to retire with injury as I felt he would have gone on to establish himself as a leading rider. I'm delighted that he's chosen to stay involved in the event.”

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