British Superstock 1000 champion Keith Farmer is making the step up to the British Superbike class this season.

Remaining with Paul Bird Motorsport, Farmer will ride alongside reigning triple BSB champion, Shane Byrne.

Farmer had two very successful years in Superstock, winning the 600cc title in 2011 and the 1000cc crown last year.

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Here is what the 25-year-old Northern Irishman had to say about his new challenge...
Keith, during the last two years in Superstock 600 and 1000 categories, everything you have touched has turned into a championship; does that make you confident for your debut BSB season?

Keith Farmer:
In a way, yes this does make me confident as it shows that I can adapt to whatever class of bike I race.

In 2011 I was on two different types of 600 and won both classes along with doing two rounds for Paul Bird in Superstock 1000 in the European STK1000 class!

I adapted well to the 1000 in 2012 and quicker than I expected to be honest, so with a year's experience on the 1000, it is only a few things to get my head round to the Superbike.

Saying that, those 'few things' are hard to deal with - tyres being the main difference.
You are the most successful UK-based rookie coming into the 2013 BSB season; does that put any added pressure on your shoulders?

Keith Farmer:
I don't see things like that anymore. I just want to get on my bike and do the best that I can. I'm focussing my mind on the job in hand.
Who do you hope to be racing against this year?

Keith Farmer:
Most importantly I will have Shane 'Shakey' Byrne as a team-mate, three-time BSB champion and holding the number 1' plate, which is a great benefit as he helped me out with a lot of stuff throughout last year.

I don't mind who I race against. It makes no difference to me if there are big names on the grid or not, no one phases me anymore as I am very determined this year and have never been more driven to concentrate and have this as a job.

I would like to move into MotoGP maybe one day and race against those guys.
What results are you realistically looking at for this year?

Keith Farmer:
In all honesty Paul asked me that a while back and I said that I wanted to be in the top 10 as that is an achievable target, but the top six is where I'm really aiming for. The championship can't be won if you're outside the top 10, so you need to be in the top six to make the 'Showdown'.

I just want to be like a 'sponge' for the first few rounds; soaking it all up and absorbing all the info I can, learn from it all and put it into practice to score points credits for the showdown.
Have you had to train and approach your fitness differently, now that you are on a physically more demanding motorcycle?

Keith Farmer:
I have stepped up training a heck of a lot from what I was used to, its well out of my comfort zone, so far at times it has made me physically sick and nearly passing out but as the saying goes 'No Pain, No Gain'.

Paul has got me a Personal Trainer, to get me up to speed with where I need to be, so a big thanks to Paul for looking after me with that and Steve from Elite Fitness in Penrith for the training. If I'm not ready for this now then I'll never be ready.
Where do you think can improve from your point of view?

Keith Farmer:
I think where I need to improve is to be more relaxed and not try pushing so hard during the race. At the last race of last year at Brands Hatch on the Superstock bike, I was really relaxed even though at one point I was as far back as seventh. I didn't panic, I just let the race come to me and when it was needed, I banged in some good laps and put in clean passes in the last two laps to win the race.
You are racing for an incredibly successful team - you seem pretty relaxed with Paul Bird Motorsport. Has the team boss, Paul Bird, been helping you to mature within the team and on the track?

Keith Farmer:
Yes definitely. Paul has made me from a rider with a little bit of talent, into a mature rider who thinks about the race and stays calm now, instead of a rider who went into the race all guns blazing and wanted to win every lap. The only lap you need to lead is the last one to see the chequered flag first.

Paul looks after me like a son, to be honest, as it's as much his interest for me to do well as it is mine.
And as you say, Shakey can pass on some of his experience...

Keith Farmer:
Yes Shakey will definitely help me out no matter what. He knows I'm a rookie and not going to be threatening him unless it's wet, so I am greatly appreciative of the help he'll give me, as last year he taught me a lot from what information he was telling me.

by Dexter Fielding