The MCE British Superbike championship contenders are dusting off their racing leathers as pre-season testing begins abroad, with Honda Racing's Jason O'Halloran returning to track action for the first time since recovering from a broken femur and hand.
O'Halloran's 2015 campaign was prematurely halted after suffering a crash in qualifying at Thruxton in which he sustained a broken leg and left hand. The Australian had been holding a top six Showdown spot before his injury and was in fine form having taken a maiden BSB rostrum a few weeks before his crash at Snetterton.
The Honda Racing rider is preparing for his first return to action at Spanish track Cartagena to run laps on a superstock Firebalde and says he's looking forward to getting back on a bike for the first time since August.
"For me its ace to be able to get back out on track before we start our Superbike test programme in March,” O'Halloran said on britishsuperbike.com. “To get some laps on my 2014 Superstock Honda and to have my crew chief Paul there too will be really good for me because I feel it is really important for me to ride and blow away some of the cobwebs.
"I haven't ridden since the crash I had in August, so it has been a long time off the bike and so I am really looking forward to getting back into it. It will be good for me to get some laps in and just concentrate on my riding and not worry about times. I feel I am back to where I should be and am ready to go."
Elsewhere, Shane Byrne and Glenn Irwin are traveling to Portimao for a maiden two-day test with Be Wiser PBM's new Ducati machines. The BSB championship challengers will be joined by fellow Ducati squad Lloyds British Moto Rapido with Danny Buchan before switching to Almeria for a second two-day test.
“This is the most excited I have been looking ahead to a season in a long time. It is like a completely new start with Ducati and the new crew I have, but we still have the foundations of the team that together have won championships,” Byrne said. "It is obviously early days but the team have done a fantastic job so far and I am so keen and curious to see what she is like on track in BSB spec compared to the previous Ducatis that I have ridden.”