Glen Richards has earmarked several riders who could be capable of winning races in this year's British Superbike Championship as he prepares for his return to the category with HM Plant Honda.
The Australian rider graduates back to the Superbike fold in 2009 after winning last season's British Supersport Championship, marking a return to the category he last raced in three years ago.
One of a number of new rider and team combinations that are anticipated to make this year's title race particularly close, Richards himself admits it is very difficult to identify a clear favourite.
“That is what is making it so difficult,” he told Crash.net
when asked about who he considers his biggest rivals for 2009. “I would have thought James Ellison and Leon Camier would be the ones to beat, but they haven't even turned a wheel yet.
“Those two guys, as well as me and my team-mate [Josh Brookes] should be the four riders that are up there, but Guintoli has been very fast in testing, while the Hydrex boys have been quick too and the Rob Mac Yamahas have done plenty of testing. I couldn't put any money on it - it is just too hard to tell!”
Although he is yet to win a race at BSB level, his previous best being a second place finish at Mallory Park in 2005, Richards is nonetheless confident that he is with the right team to launch a title tilt.
“There are some great people in the team and they are very good at producing good motorbikes. If you want to win a British championship, then it is the place to be.
“I am going to look at each race as it comes. I will be trying to finish as high as possible and if I have a chance to win, then I will be going for the win. I certainly have a better chance now that I am riding arguably the best bike on the grid.”