MCE British Superbike challenger Martin Jessopp has set himself a goal of finishing on the rostrum at this year's Vauxhall International North West 200.
The Yeovil man will ride a specially-prepared BMW S1000RR HP4 Superbike featuring MotoGP technology and factory electronics to aid his cause at the Northern Ireland road race on May 17.
Jessopp set a new top speed record at the event in 2012 when he was clocked at 208mph on the Riders Ducati and the 28-year-old now feels he is ready to up the ante in his quest to challenge for his maiden race victories on the roads.
“You need a really fast and stable bike for road circuits like the North West,” said Jessopp, who will also ride a BMW S1000RR in the Superstock races at the North West 200 and Isle of Man TT this year.
“We know the engine is fast because we were the fastest through the speed trap at Macau last year, so most of the development has focused on the chassis and we will have a bike that is designed to perform better on the roads.
“I will be going to the TT to learn my way around this year but I am coming to the North West to target podiums and race wins.
“Years ago people used to talk about racing at the North West to get the bike set up for the TT but the North West is a huge event that stands on its own nowadays and I'm really looking forward to getting back there.”
Jessopp, who has twice finished as the runner-up at the Macau Grand Prix in 2011 and 2012, could also make his debut at the Ulster Grand Prix at Dundrod in August, following on from his bow at the TT in June.
The Riders Motorcycles team, run by his father, Phil, has stepped up its development work with the BMW to make the machine more suitable for the unique challenges of racing on public roads circuits.
“We have done an awful lot of development work on the BMWs since last year and we have built different bikes for the roads and BSB for this season,” Jessopp senior explained.
“We have used MotoGP technology in the back end of the new HP4 to develop a new swinging arm and we have also designed new yokes and forks for the front end to help make the bike more stable. The engine will have more power as well as a new BMW factory electronics system.”
Practice for the North West 200 commences on Tuesday, May 13.