Leon Haslam will look to extend his lead in the World Superbike Championship as the series heads to Assen this weekend.
The Suzuki Alstare rider has enjoyed a fine start to the campaign, with two victories and three second places in the six races run to date, leaving the Briton 18 points ahead of Aprilia rider Max Biaggi in the championship standings.
Haslam picked up two podium finishes in the Netherlands last year and will now seek to maintain his strong start to the campaign this time around to keep his advantage at the top of the championship.
“Two wins and three seconds in six races is a pretty good start to the season and I feel confident that I can carry on with this good form,” he said. “I like the bike and feel very comfortable on it and that lets me push it hard. I used to like the 'old' Assen circuit because it was a very flowing and great high-speed track. Since they modified it, I don't like it as much as the old one, but it's still a good track and very spectator friendly.
“I hope that the recent travel problems don't affect the crowds much, because Assen always throws up good racing and it would be a shame for the fans to miss out on what is going to be another great Superbike weekend. I had two podiums in Assen last season and will be aiming to do the same again this year.”
Team-mate Sylvain Guintoli will also hope for a strong weekend, although he admitted that needs to improve his qualifying performance in an effort to put himself in a better position on race day.
“There were some positives from the last race weekend and I need to build on them and do much better in practice and qualifying so that I am in a good position on raceday,” he said. “I like Assen and think it will suit our bike well, so I am really 'up' for the races this coming weekend.
“Despite the changes to the circuit, it is still a good track and it normally provides great racing. I will be going all-out for podiums, but I know I have to be in a good position on the grid if I'm to run with the front guys at the start of the races. I haven't raced at Assen on a Superbike, so this will be a new experience for me.”