37-year-old Londoner Shakey remains with the team for a third successive year and is looking to again challenge for the crown he last won in 2012. Last year he led the title race for most of the season but just lost out to Alex Lowes in the very last race of the season. Byrne, who now lives on the Isle of Sheppey, has won a record 51 MCE BSB races in his career and now goes in search of that record-breaking fourth title.
Easton, meanwhile, returns to the MCE BSB class after a successful year whereby he won the Motorpoint British Supersport Championship, again in dramatic fashion. The diminutive 30-year-old Scotsman from Hawick last raced for the Rapid Solicitors Kawasaki team in 2012 where he scored a podium at Oulton Park but it was the year he was returning from serious injuries meaning a title challenge was unlikely.
With Byrne and Easton back together, it significantly marks the third year that title sponsors Rapid Solicitors are backing Paul Bird's team with a remarkable record of success. Since the collaboration in 2012, the team has won one MCE BSB title, finished runner-up also and taken the 2012 National Superstock 1000 title. During the two year association, the team has taken 23 victories, scored 25 additional podiums, set 11 pole positions and claimed nine fastest laps.
Shane Byrne: "Last season was difficult and to lose the championship in the very last race of the season was tough to take but we did a great job all year long and it was unfortunate it didn't work out. Testing has gone really well and with my team and my bike, we can hopefully turn it around this year. I'm even more determined to win back the title after coming so close last year and where better to start than at my local Brands Hatch track."
Stuart Easton: "I'm looking forward to this season more than ever and it's great to be back on a Superbike. The season away did me the power of good but it's also taken me a little time to reacquaint myself with the Kawasaki in testing. Now I need some race miles and hopefully we can get a couple of decent results this weekend. I really like the Indy circuit so the plan is to score some strong points and challenge for the podium."
Paul Bird, Team Owner: "The team has worked very hard over winter to perfect the package for both Shakey and Stuart so we intend to come out fighting from the start. Make no bones about it, losing the title last year hurt us and we are more determined than ever to win it back, that's the main reason why we are here. The Kawasaki is the best bike and we know Shakey is the best rider in the championship so we have no excuses. Stuart has won BSB races in the past so I fully expect him to be challenging for the title also."
The Rapid Solicitors Kawasaki MCE British Superbike Championship Team will run alongside the PBM MotoGP Team with riders Michael Laverty and Broc Parkes. Additionally, Paul Bird plans a full campaign in the REIS BTRDA Rally Series as well as selected International events in his Ford Focus WRC07. Both bike racing teams are sporting the colours of British Racing Green in deference to the team's proud British heritage.