Mar 20, 2013
© 2013, Roadracing World Publishing, Inc.
From a press release
issued by Isle of Man TT Press Office
Isle of Man TT: Herve Gantner (13) in action.
RICO PENZKOFER RETURNS TO ISLE OF MAN TT RACES AS MANAGER WITH STRONG FOUR MAN RACE TEAM
German Endurance Superstock World Champions Team Penz13.com will return to the 2013 Isle of Man TT Races, fuelled by Monster Energy, with an international line-up for the three 1000cc races.
The team will be led by the recently retired Rico Penzkofer and will field an impressive four riders with leading Briton Steve Mercer heading the line up ably supported by Swiss Herve Gantner, Japanese regular Yoshinari Matsushita and exciting German newcomer Steven Michels. All four will ride BMW machinery with Mercer on the HP4 Superbike and the other three on the S1000RR.
Mercer will come into his fifth TT keen to crack the top ten 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 whilst he also earned his first ever silver replica, so he’s sure to figure prominently again in 2013. He'll contest the Dainese Superbike, Royal London 360º Superstock and PokerStars Senior TT races.
Gantner made his TT debut in 2010, returning every year since, 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.
Japanese rider Matsushita will also be coming into his fourth year of competition at the TT and both he and Gantner will line up in the same three 1000cc races as Mercer.
The fourth member of the ambitious team is young German Steven 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 fifth 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 five once. A product of the Red Bull Rookies Cup, Michels has also been a regular top ten finisher in the German IDM Superbike and Supersport Championships.
Rico Penzkofer, Team Manager, Team Penz13.com Racing commented:
"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.”
Paul Phillips, TT and Motorsport Manager, Isle of Man Government commented:
"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."
Steve Mercer commented:
“I'm delighted to be part of Penz13.com 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.”
Steven Michels commented:
“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.”
Matsushita Yoshinari commented:
“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.”
Herve Ganthner commented:
“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."