Rising young prospect Keith Farmer will benefit from the experience of top British Superbike riders Shane 'Shakey' Byrne and Stuart Easton in Paul Bird's Kawasaki team this season.

Farmer, who has stepped up to the Metzeler National Superstock 1000 class in 2012, has embarked on an extensive pre-season testing programme in Spain, when Byrne and Easton will be on hand to provide some expert advice.

"I'm in Spain since Tuesday and will testing for five or six days at Aragon,
Cartagena and Almeria and then I'll be away to Aragon again on March 18-19 again," Farmer told Crash.Net.

"Then on March 21-22 I'll be at Snetterton and Brands Hatch, so I'll have plenty of track time and I'll have Shakey Byrne and Stuart Easton to help me out. They're going to have a test on my bike and give me some feedback and a general set-up to work from, so I have plenty of help.

"I see this year as a make or break year but under Paul's [Bird] guidance hopefully it will make me and I've got good people around me, so we'll give it our best shot."

Farmer has plenty to live up to following a sensational debut campaign in 2011 that saw him capture the Superstock 600 title at his first attempt, but he remains focused on his new challenge on Bird's 1000cc Kawasaki and is targeting top five finishes as the season progresses.

"I know all the circuits now and I'm aiming to be in the top ten to begin with, but to be honest I want to be trying to get into the top five. We'll see how things go, but half-way through the season I'd like to be trying to challenge for wins.

"I'll try and stay upright and score points in every race because consistency is the most important thing. I only made one mistake last year when I crashed at Croft and it's important not to make too many of those.

"The Superstock 1000 class is very competitive this year and there are a
lot of riders out there riding for big teams on good bikes."

The Northern Ireland lad, now based in Northamptonshire, was thrilled to receive Bird's backing this season and is determined to repay the faith shown in him by the Cumbrian entrepreneur.

"I didn't actually think I would get the ride with Paul Bird," he said. "He had said during the season that he would take me on board for a couple of years and help my career but I didn't really think he meant it to be honest.

"It's a great chance for me and I want to make the most of it."