British Superbike veteran Michael Rutter, fifth overall with one race win in last year's Championship, once again leads the Ducati challenge for the 2011 season, which starts at Brands Hatch this weekend.

After a promising series of winter tests, Rutter will once again be aiming to topple the four-cylinders, although his main aim for round one is solid points.

"We have had some positive tests pre-season and we finished the last test at Snetterton feeling happy with our progress," declared Rutter.

"We are ready to go racing and the first weekend at Brands Hatch I think is going to be a bit of a lottery as it is not until everyone is on track that you know where everybody is at.

"It's going to be a busy weekend but I am really looking forward to it and hopefully we can come away with some strong results for the Rapid Solicitors-Bathams Ducati team."

Rutter will be re-joined by Martin Jessopp at the Bathams team in 2011.

Jessopp is returning to action after a serious leg injury, sustained in a collision with Dan Linfoot at Mallory Park last June, forced him to skip the remainder of 2010.

"In some of the pre-season tests I was still struggling with the injury to my leg from last year, but after some rest and extra physio I will be ready to go this weekend," he said.

"The first weekend is always a bit of an unknown, but once we have had the first practice session we will know what we need to do. We obviously want to get the season off to the best start we can, so we will be pushing hard that's for sure."

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