Stuart Easton has expressed his 'shock' at coming away from the opening round of the 2011 MCE British Superbike Championship with third in the standings, despite admitting there is still a long way to go with the new Kawasaki ZX-10R.
The MSS Colchester rider was one of the beneficiaries of the melee that befell the top three during race one, Easton briefly assuming the lead ahead of Shane Byrne.
Relieved of the position by Byrne shortly afterwards, Easton battled on but having lost second to Tommy Hill, he would also be denied a podium finish on the very final corner of the race when he ran wide at Clearways and allowed Tommy Bridewell through.
Despite this, Easton, who went on to finish sixth in race two, was encouraged by the performance of a bike that he says 'isn't quite there yet'.
“To be honest I'm pretty shocked at our results – we had some problems over the weekend and to leave Brands in third place in the Championship is a fantastic result.
“The chassis on the Kawasaki Ninja ZX-10R isn't quite there yet and we struggled towards the end of the race with side-grip and the front end. It's still very early days for the team and I think this year will be about consistency, getting those points in the bag.
“I'm gutted to miss out on a podium in race one but I knew that whoever was behind was close and I tried to keep them off but nearly lost the front. With a fourth and a sixth I haven't sprayed any champagne but I'm satisfied and looking forward to Oulton, which I think will suit the bike.”
Team-mate Gary Mason, meanwhile, had a tough weekend, scraping a top ten finish in the second race of the day.
“My second race was certainly better than the first and I think we are getting there with the Kawasaki Ninja ZX-10R. Brands isn't a great track for us and with a new bike it's hard to get on the pace, a few tenths here and there make a big difference around such a short track.
“There is certainly potential, I went faster today than I ever have around Brands and as always the boys worked their guts out. I'm now really looking forward to Oulton which is a rider's circuit and one I love.”