Steve Hislop is in good spirits coming into the 2003 season. Despite being dropped by the MonsterMob Ducati team the 2002 champ reckons there'll be some great racing in the series in 2003.

At 41 Hislop is far from the youngest man in the British Superbike field, but he isn't letting the advancing years, or his change of team, deter him from the challenge of adding another trophy to his tally.

For this year Hislop will be riding a Virgin Yamaha R1, the first test of which was snowed off. Hislop told British newspaper The People that this lack of testing would not present a problem.

"I only had a day-and-a-half testing last year and still came away with the title," he explained. "I'm not worried that the R1 is a different bike from the Ducatis - it's still got two wheels and a set of handlebars ... and that's enough for me."

The BSB championship starts at the end of March at the Northamptonshire Silverstone circuit. Before that Hislop will be testing both in England and in Spain.

Hislop outlines the challenge ahead in what could be his final season of racing. "This season some engine modifications have been allowed in the rule changes and the mechanics tell me they're getting another 10 horsepower out of the bike," he says. "It's giving it well over 180bhp so I'm pretty confident I'll be in with a chance."

Hislop has already stated that he thinks this year could be his final before he hangs up his leathers. "It never seems to get any easier and this year is going to be harder than ever with so many people in with a chance."

But despite this Hizzy reckons there'll be some great racing. "And it's going to be great for the fans - it's probably the best racing in the world right now."



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