Shane 'Shakey' Byrne is expecting another tough challenge for HM Plant Honda as the British Superbike Championship continues at Croft.
The Londoner enters the weekend with an eleven point lead over Stuart Easton after three podiums, including a win, in the first four races.
But 'Shakey' is keeping his expectations under control, admitting the North Yorkshire circuit is one of the toughest challenges of the year.
“I am sure it is going to be a tricky weekend as Croft is one of those circuits that can be difficult to find a good set up. But that said we had another test before Croft to make some further improvements so we can try and get it right from the start when we get out in free practice.”
“I am happy to be leading the championship, but its early days and I still need to be up there every weekend trying to get wins and podium finishes. We only managed a fourth and a third at the last round so we need to build on that and get back winning again.”
Ryuichi Kiyonari got his title defence up and running with victory in race one at Oulton, and lies 12 points behind his teammate in the championship.
The Japanese rider is a former winner at Croft but admits it won't be easy to replicate that this weekend.
“For me Croft has been a difficult track in the past, although I have won there before. It is a completely different track to Brands Hatch and Oulton Park where we have raced already. It is very bumpy so the setting is going to be critical to be able to win. My HM Plant Honda Fireblade is better than last season already with the work we have done over the winter – we have pushed hard to fight for the wins so I want to be on the podium and winning again at Croft.”
Team Manager Havier Beltran accepts the team still has to work to do to mount a serious championship challenge, but is still hopeful of a productive weekend.
“Croft is always a key round for the team as this is the local round for our title sponsor HM Plant and we obviously want to put on a good show for them, as always. In the past Croft has produced some mixed results for the team but we hope that this weekend we can come away with some strong results as we continue to improve.”