Jakub Smrz says he has everything he needs to challenge for a Showdown spot as he returns to the British Superbike grid for the 2015 season with Lloyds British Moto Rapido.

The Czech rider will race a Ducati 1199 Panigale R, which bumps up the number of manufacturers on the 2015 grid to seven. The 31-year-old grabbed his first pole position and followed it with a sixth-place finish at Thruxton last season.

Smrz has previously competed in the World Superbike Championship before switching to BSB for the final three rounds of the 2012 season. The Czech rider says he has fallen in love with the British series over the past three years and is hoping to enjoy his most successful season to date.

Related Articles

"My realistic aim this year is to challenge for the Showdown," Smrz said. "This year the grid is very tough, but last year we proved that we can be fast and we have improved so I feel better than ever. I love riding in BSB and this season I have everything I need to be fast."

The team has undergone a thorough winter development programme working closely with the factory based in Bologna and Smrz believes they have made significant steps forward for 2015.

"I feel really good about this season. Last year wasn't the easiest for me but we have done lot of work and development with the Panigale," Smrz said. "It's great to be with Lloyds British Moto Rapido Ducati and continue the work that we started. The team have a lot of passion and everybody is working hard. I feel that the team deserves to see their Ducati at the top.

"There are many improvements for this year and with Steve Moore managing the team; he has a very good understanding of racing and the Ducati, which is very positive.

"The bike should be stronger and some of the settings problems we had last year will be improved. Of course it is hard to say before we go testing but I am feeling very confident because the hard work of the team and knowledge of the Ducati will helps us to move forward."

Team owner Steve Moore is itching to get back to racing for 2015 and is aiming for an improvement on last season's 15th place finish in the riders' standings.

"I'm thrilled to be back on the BSB grid this year with new sponsor Lloyds British and additional support from Ducati UK," Moore said. "Working with Jakub last year was great, however we are looking for some big results in 2015, the team infrastructure is now vastly improved, and we've a superb new bike so we're just desperate to get out on the track."

"Last season was certainly challenging; we had a few set-up issues when matching the bike and Jakub's style so never really got him comfortable, but still managed many good lap times, thankfully this year we are in a far greater position.

Moore says his team have profited from working with the Italian manufacturers and have a lot more data to use as well as an updated suspension and chassis package.

"Ducati have been very busy preparing for their own season, but have been supporting is us with a lot of technical information," he added. "We don't have the same resources as some of the other teams in the paddock, but I'm really pleased with what we have in place for 2015 - I believe that we can mount our strongest challenge yet."

The BSB season commences on 4-5 April at the first round at Donington Park.