Samsung Honda's Michael Laverty has been hugely impressive during pre-season testing on the CBR1000RR, raising expectations of a serious title challenge in the MCE British Superbike Championship this season.

The Ulsterman signed for the Louth-based team after switching from Swan Yamaha and appears to have instantly gelled with the Honda as he targets a strong start to the new campaign at Brands Hatch this weekend.

"I'm enjoying the bike, it has a nice power delivery and we are running a pretty good pace and with the new rules for this season we are there, or thereabouts," said Laverty.

"This bike and the one I rode last season are polar opposites and it took me two days to feel comfy, but then I was able to push the boundaries out.

"Last season I got in a position to be champion, but made a few errors, but I've matured enough to know what I have to do," he added.

"Honda have confidence in me to do the job - it is good to be in the most successful team in the paddock. I am settled with them, the team are relaxed, know what they are doing and they have the experience that I can learn from."

Laverty's team-mate in the factory Honda team, Jon Kirkham, showed his potential last season when he claimed a coveted BSB victory at Croft and is confident he has the best package in the championship.

"It took a little time to dial into the bike, but we are there now. We have the best package and that is good as the new regulations for the series puts rider ability first," said Kirkham.

"I am just looking forward now to getting out there and getting good results. The team around me is a friendly bunch and I settled with them straightaway. My targets are to be running up front and posing questions if I am not on the podium."