Tom Sykes believes that he is 'ready and capable' of taking his first World Superbike podium of the season in this weekend's Imola round.
Team-mate to fellow rookie and title leader Ben Spies, Sykes arrives at round twelve of 14 holding eighth in the world championship, having taken his factory Yamaha to a best finish of fourth at Assen (round four).
With his 2010 future apparently still undecided, and no shortage of riders linked to his seat, the Englishman - who took a WSBK podium finish as a wild-card for Rizla Suzuki in 2008 - needs a rostrum more than ever.
Sykes was a competitive fifth fastest in July's Imola test.
“I'm really looking forward to Imola,” said Sykes. "I had a two day test there and it was a decent one, we came away with a lot of positives. I'm hoping to go back there with what we've learnt and start with a good race setting.
“I'm really ready to get on the rostrum and taste the champagne, I certainly feel like I'm capable of doing it. That's the plan so hopefully we can go there strong, not having to learn the circuit and get stuck straight in.
“I really enjoyed riding on the track, there are a few bumps that remind me of home and there's certainly a lot of history there, it's strange seeing houses as you come down the fast left on the track,” he added.
"We're going to start with the base setting from the test as Tom produced some really good lap times with it and build into that what we've learnt at Brno and the Nurburgring and go from there,” added his crew chief Sergio Verbena.