Championship leader, James Ellison will go into round 4 of the British Superbikes 8 points clear of the field having won three out of the initial six races this season. The JG Speedfit Kawasaki is feeling confident in his bike and team ahead of the weekend.
Ellison commented: "I am really happy with how the season has gone so far and I have a lot of trust in the bike, which does take a while to build up so when you have that trust and belief in the team in the back of your mind you can just concentrate on riding the bike as fast as you can and get on with it, without thinking of settings or anything. All you have to think about is how you can get around the track faster. A happy rider is a fast rider and I think that can be seen already this year.”
Ellison's narrow margin in the standings gives him the initial edge ahead of the weekend in the podium points table, but he admits he doesn't expect to be the main target for the opposition this weekend.
"As championship leader I don't think it makes me a target as it is still too early in the season for that. I think everyone will have the same approach. Shakey for instance will know that probably Josh [Brookes] is strongest candidate here as he holds the record, has won here before and is considerably faster at the test. There is no bigger target on my back than there is normally. Everybody I expected to be at the front have been as it takes a while to get the package to be there and doing everything right.”
Shane ‘Shakey’ Byrne will indeed be targeting for the win this weekend as he continues his title defence and feels his recent official test at the circuit helped the PBM Kawasaki team take a further step forward.
Byrne said: "The test went pretty good. I got caught out on the first morning with a really strange crash that didn't really help things. It wasn't anything to do with me being on the limit or pushing too hard I just got caught out - it was so close to being a save that it wasn't even funny! But it wasn't and I was on the floor so it's all a bit irrelevant! … Generally speaking it was a really productive test as we did lots and lots of laps and were fast way over race distance on race tyres, and ultimately that is what it going to get you 25 points."
Byrne scored a double win at the Norfolk circuit last season and that is something he is eager to repeat in his bid to return to the top of the standings and secure a haul of podium points ahead of the Showdown, but knows it is going to be tight at the top in Norfolk.
"Ultimately the top four or five of us will always be somewhere near the front and I am sure there will be others coming to that party as the season progresses. There are lots of machines that are new, then there are teams with new machines, there are all sorts of changes and everyone is only going to get stronger and that is why it is important that we stay at the top of our game and I work as hard as I can to do the best job I can.
The reality of it is, it isn't too drastic until we get closer to the Showdown, but obviously I want to score as many podium points as I can between now and then and I would also like to get a bit of a run of wins going to be honest as it feels like a bit of a long time since Donington Park! If we can get a few wins under our belts before the Showdown and keep the podium points high then that should put us in a good place for the end of season."