SWINDON Robins captain Troy Batchelor is now a full-time Grand Prix rider after Emil Sayfutdinov withdrew from the series.

The Aussie was first reserve following his performance in last season's GP Challenge, but now Russian Sayfutdinov has withdrawn due to the leg injury which ended his 2013 campaign, Batchelor has stepped up full-time.

The Robins skipper, who won his first national title last year and captained his country at the World Cup, will wear number 75 for his debut season.

The 26-year-old from Brisbane has had previous World Championship experience, scoring six points in the final round of the 2013 SGP series in Torun last October.

The first round of the Grand Prix season, the New Zealand SGP, takes place at Auckland’s Western Springs on April 5.

Swindon boss Alun Rossiter said: "I know how much this means to Troy, and how distraught he was after the GP Challenge at Poole last year when he was caught out by the dreaded gate four in his first ride.

“After what happened to him in the Australian Championship when he missed out due to injury, this is excellent news for him and also for the club.

“It’s good for us to have our captain representing us in the World Championship, as we had with Hans Andersen a couple of years ago.

“Troy has matured in the last few years and I’m sure he’s ready for this challenge. He’s been doing well in the Swedish and Polish leagues and the prestige of the Grand Prix series is made for him.

“All of us at Swindon, and I’m sure all of our supporters, wish him all the best and we look forward to following his progress.”