Leon Haslam believes he is better placed to challenge for the podium at Phillip Island this year than he was last season as he gets ready for the start of the 2012 World Superbike Championship.

Haslam claimed a podium on his BMW debut in Australia last year, but could only replicate that on a further two occasions over the course of the season.

However, Haslam feels BMW is closer to the front ahead of the 2012 curtain raiser, ensuring a podium challenge should be a realistic target from the off next weekend.

"I am looking forward to the official Infront test. It is another two full days. I feel that we now have a good base with the bike and we have a good understanding from the last test. We can now work on race runs and prepare for the race weekends. It is going to be quite an important test, as everyone is going to be there and we will all be on the same tyres. It will give us a good indication of where we need to improve.

"On the race weekend itself we will, as always, be aiming to perform to the best of our ability. That is always our aim. Right now I am pretty confident that we can definitely challenge for the podium.

"Looking back to last year, all the BMWs were quite far behind at this stage and I was on the podium in the first race. Now, we are within a couple of tenths already and we still have a lot more to look forward to. So I am actually quite confident as we approach the weekend."

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