Michael Laverty has professed himself 'more confident this year than ever before' as the 2010 MCE Insurance British Superbike Championship campaign revs into life at Brands Hatch - and the Irishman is optimistic that he can upset the establishment with his on-track pace over Easter weekend.

The former British Supersport Champion has been consistently quick during pre-season testing aboard his Relentless Suzuki by TAS machine, and it is clear that he has swiftly settled back into the team that helped to guide him to that BSS crown three years ago.

Following a BSB sabbatical in 2009 - competing sporadically in World Supersport and over in the States in AMA - championship returnee Laverty is determined to stake his claim as a genuine title contender this season. Fourth place in opening practice around Brands' Indy Circuit today - a scant 16 hundredths shy of second - was a positive way to begin.

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"I am more confident this year than I have ever been before," the 28-year-old told the official BSB website. "In testing everything went well and the lap times were coming, rather than me stressing and having to push really hard. It all went smoothly at both Cartagena in Spain and then Cadwell Park, so we came into this weekend feeling happy.

"Testing is one thing, though, and it won't be until Monday that we know exactly who is going to be where. Nobody has really singled me out as a contender this year, but I am quietly confident and arrived at Brands Hatch with the intention of causing a surprise or two. It is going to be hectic for sure, but we will all know where we stand on Monday!"