Michael Laverty is hopeful Swan Yamaha can live up to the promise of its winter test pace as it prepares to make its British Superbike debut in its current guise at Brands Hatch.
Laverty moved to Shaun Muir Racing over the winter in a deal that coincided with the team's switch from Honda to Yamaha machinery, complete with backing from the manufacturer's UK arm.
Despite the challenge of developing a new machine, both Laverty and team-mate Tommy Hill have shown strong form during testing, with the Northern Irishman topping the most recent test at Snetterton.
Indeed, though Laverty insists the opening round is always unpredictable, he is optimistic that he will be amongst the front runners from the very beginning.
“The first races at Brands Hatch are going to be strange as the Indy circuit can throw a curveball you don't expect,” he said. “I think though that after the pre-season testing we are in the position to challenge for the wins and get the job done.
“It has been a longer build up to this season and the anticipation really has been building for these first races and everyone just wants to get out and race now.
We have been fast in testing so I hope that people are looking at us and thinking we are going to be up there at Brands Hatch. The pressure doesn't matter to me; myself and Tommy have proved we have the pace - we just need to make sure we don't get complacent and translate our testing performance into strong results.”
Laverty scored his first BSB wins in 2010 with Relentless Suzuki, finishing the season in fourth overall.