James Ellison says he's ready to take the fight to Josh Brookes at Assen and is confident he has the race pace to upset the MCE British Superbike championship leader's current dominance.
The JG Speedfit Kawasaki rider has enjoyed a successful day on his 35th birthday by grabbing second in qualifying after announcing he will be staying with the team for the 2016 season.
The former MotoGP rider has continued to make progressive gains on his comeback from a broken wrist suffered at Thruxton in August and believes he has the speed to worry Brookes at the Dutch circuit.
Ellison enters the Showdown 31 points adrift of Brookes in third and 29 points off defending BSB champion Shane Byrne.
“The front row was the main aim today and obviously Josh has been flying these past few races while I've been trying to recover and watching the points gap get bigger and bigger,” Ellison said. “We've managed to get into the Showdown and proven that we belong here by qualifying on the front row, so I'm really pleased.”
Assessing his chances ahead of the races at Assen, Ellison says he's put himself in the strongest position possible by being just off the shoulder of Brookes and sees Byrne's fifth place start as an added bonus.
"It isn't pole position but that was a phenomenal lap by Josh, he is flying but is beatable,” Ellison said. “That is what you have to understand, you've got to go out there thinking you can beat him and I have done so on numerous occasions before. He is on a good run at the minute the bike is working really well for him.
“In the race I usually go quicker than I do in qualifying and I know I'll be up there with the front boys. Josh is strong around here and the Yamaha has more side grip than us which is a disadvantage that we've got.
“Having Shakey off the front row is a massive, massive bonus too because he is the closest rival to me in the championship and between Brookes and I. With Shakey, he is on the same equipment and I think I'm riding better than him at the minute.”
On an emotional day in more than one way, Ellison also paid tribute to his late father and dedicated his second place in qualifying to him.
“I would like to dedicate the front row to my dad. I lost him three years ago today and I miss him more than ever, so this for him.”