Tyco Suzuki team principal Philip Neill says reigning British Supersport champion Alastair Seeley has a "genuine chance" of lifting this year's MCE British Superbike crown.

Neill and Seeley have enjoyed a highly successful partnership together, winning the National Superstock title plus the Supersport championship in recent seasons.

Seeley made his debut in BSB in 2010, taking his maiden race victory in the wet at Brands Hatch and ending the season in sixth position overall.

"It's better timing for Alastair Seeley this time round," said Neill. "It was a massive ask for Alastair in 2010 because not only was he relatively new to the British championship, he was completely new to British Superbikes of that type of specification - Superbikes with 16.5 inch wheels and full electronics and all the whistles and bells.

"It was a major ask for someone at that stage of their career, but what he actually achieved that year was a bit underestimated in British championship terms. The lad won a race and had several podiums plus some fastest laps and finished in fifth place in the championship - that is no mean feat in your first year," he added.

"Obviously Alastair automatically hoped he would get a second term in BSB out of that but we needed to do a job in British Supersport and I convinced him that that was the right way to go for his career.

"I know it was a close run thing at the end, but I was convinced from day one that he could win the British Supersport championship and I knew it would do his career the power of good," added Neill.

"We had an inkling all along that there was going to be a change in Superbike spec anyway for 2012 and obviously that has happened now. To be honest it's so much better for Alastair because he's now on a Superbike that will be much more familiar to him having spent most of his career on Superstock-spec bikes.

"There won't be so many electronic gizmos this time and it's more down to the rider on the bike now, the throttle control and traction control is not electronically aided and that's better for Alastair."

Neill believes Seeley could spring a major surprise in 2012 and expects him to be challenging for honours in the high profile Northern Ireland team alongside Australian rider Josh Brookes.

"We've really got high hopes for Alastair this year and we're really optimistic about his chances. You look at Alastair now and he is a realistic, genuine British Superbike championship contender.

"The spec of the bike will suit him, the experience is now there, the confidence has always been there and we are confident that we have built a team around him that will make him comfortable, because that's especially important to Alastair.

"He knows the Suzuki well and I'll tell you what, Alastair in my opinion will win races and if you can do that, then you can win championships."