Peter Hickman says he was surprised when he discovered he will start in P7 on the grid for the MCE British Superbike season openers, after putting his RAF Reserves BMW seventh on the grid.

The 27-year-old rider has turned out to be the unknown package in BSB after having limited pre-season testing time and he was delighted with his BMW S1000RR's performance in making the third row of the grid.

"I was surprised more than anything," Hickman said. "I only did 18 laps last week with a load of electronic problems in the test day and a wet test at Mallory. That was my testing done so the first time I sat on a bike properly was yesterday.

Related Articles

"So we've just been chipping away gradually and somehow we managed to pull off a good lap in both the first and second session and to be honest I was happy with that so to get seventh place, I am over the moon."

Hickman remained canny about where he had found the extra pace and paid huge credit to his support team to prepare the bike despite hampered running time.

Analysing his 1m 30.322s lap, Hickman said: "Brake late, throttle on early and bite the screen for a lap. It just seem to work.

"Maybe I did get a bit lucky with new tyres and other people not making the most of their new tyres, but it is what it is. It shows how good the base bike is from BMW and the team have done a great job putting it all together."

Looking ahead to the races, the Burton-on-Trent rider is aiming for solid finishes as he works his way towards getting the full potential from the bike.

"If we are inside the top 10 I will be well happy but inside the points will be good."