Two-time British Superbike champion Shane “Shakey” Byrne will climb aboard his HM Plant Honda for the first time at next week's pre-season test at Calafat.

The Kent rider will join up with the Louth-based HM Plant Honda squad for two test sessions at Spanish circuits Calafat and Cartagena respectively. After spending the last three years riding Ducati machinery, the opportunity will provide Shakey with valuable track time to get to grips with his new Honda title challenger.

The 34-year-old, who last lifted the BSB title in 2008, is desperate to challenge for a third crown, but he will face fierce competition from team mate and reigning champion Ryuichi Kiyonari, Crescent Racing's John Hopkins, and Swan Yamaha's Tommy Hill.

Byrne said: “These tests can’t come quick enough for me and I am really pleased that we have got days on two different tracks so we can really get out there and get the laps in which is so important before the start of the season. I don’t expect to come out straight away and be breaking lap records as that is not realistic at the first test, however I want to come away from Calafat with a better understanding of the HM Plant Honda.”

“We have plenty of time to get to grips with the bike and make the necessary changes throughout the test so that we arrive at Cartagena in a more comfortable position and ready to improve our pace. At Cartagena there will be lots of riders on track and we can see then an indication of where we are at compared to the other teams.”

Byrne and his HM Plant Honda team begin their BSB title challenge at home circuit Brands Hatch on April 22-25.