Jake Gagne will partner Leon Camier at the Red Bull Honda World Superbike squad for the 2018 season, and is the second American rider confirmed to race in the series next year.

24-year-old Gagne made his WorldSBK debut at his home round at Lagua Seca this year as a replacement for the late Nicky Hayden, who tragically died from injuries sustained in a road traffic accident in Italy in May.

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Gagne impressed on his first outing on the WorldSBK-spec Honda Fireblade, scoring a point in both races.

He returned to action in France and Qatar, taking points from three of those four races as he staked his claim to take the second CBR1000RR SP2 alongside Britain’s Camier next season.

“It’s really a dream come true to have the chance to contest a full World Superbike season with the Red Bull Honda World Superbike Team,” said Gagne, who finished 14th in the 2017 MotoAmerica Superbike series.

“I cannot thank Red Bull, Honda and Ten Kate enough for the opportunity to race the Honda CBR1000RR Fireblade SP2 over three rounds this year.

“I have learned so much from them and I got to know them quite well, so I’m looking forward to getting going again.

“2018 will be an exciting year for me, with a lot of travelling and racing on some of the best race tracks in the world.

“I want to thank again everyone involved for this incredible opportunity, and I feel I’m ready for the challenge ahead.”

Honda’s WorldSBK operations manager Marco Chini was impressed by Gagne‘s adaptability in his three appearances with the team in 2017, and this made him the ideal candidate to complete the squad’s line-up.

“We are delighted to have Jake on board for the 2018 season,” said Chini.

“He picked up the challenge this year and jumped on our Fireblade without any prior testing and did well at Laguna Seca, and later showed his talent at tracks he had never raced before.

“He is young, gifted and a great guy, so he’s the right choice for the team to ride alongside Leon.

“We look forwrad to seeing him on track very soon and we’re sure American fans will be happy to cheer him on.”

Gagne will be the second American representing Honda next season, after PJ Jacobsen agreed a deal with the TripleM team to step up from World Supersport.

2011 Moto2 world champion Stefan Bradl, who endured a tough debut season with Red Bull Honda, which was prematurely ended by injury, looks set to take on a role as a Honda MotoGP test rider in 2018.