Sean Emmett is a man in hurry to get his title hopes back on track starting at Snetterton this Sunday [13 April] in the double-race second round of the British Superbike Championship powered by Halls.

The Renegade Ducati race-ace has a good pedigree at the Norfolk circuit having blitzed the opposition there last year, making good use of his pole start to power to a winning double and underlining his supremacy by setting the fastest race lap.

"I need an action replay, for sure. My season starts here," said the Weybridge rider who is still smarting from missing out on the points in the Silverstone opener where the victories went to title rivals Shane Byrne and Michael Rutter. "I'm feeling good for the races and enjoy the circuit, and it is really only a matter of sorting out the bike and having everything in place."

"The bike arrived late on and it meant little time for testing, but there's no reason why I cannot be challenging for a good points haul this Sunday," said Emmett who knows the importance of racking up points in what promises to be the most competitive championship race in years.

Byrne, riding the Monstermob Ducati, holds the early advantage in the title stakes, having taken a win and a second place at the Northamptonshire circuit, but by only seven points from Rutter, who had to settle for fourth best, prior to taking a victory next out.

They have already shown their credentials in the hunt for the crown, with Rutter, Emmett's team mate, reckoning there are better things to come from his factory specification Ducati, which last year was raced in the World Championship by Troy Bayliss. The Leicestershire rider made a strong push for honours last term, and has now won five of the last six races.

Rutter is the in-form man of the series, and along with Emmett that spells problems for the defending champion, Steve Hislop, and former champion, John Reynolds. Hislop, eighth and fifth in the opener, is adjusting to riding the four-stroke Virgin Mobile Yamaha, after taking the title aboard a Ducati, and the determined Scot should be on the pace at a circuit where he tested successfully pre-season.

Reynolds, meanwhile, faces a race against time to be fit for the races. The Rizla Suzuki rider has been having extensive treatment in an effort to overcome the broken left collarbone sustained in a crash during qualifying for the opening round. The Nottingham rider is adamant that he will take to the track, knowing that he needs to score points that could prove precious in the final analysis.

His teammate Yukio Kagayama acclimatised himself to the circuit, with its ultra-fast Revett Straight, last week, and is raring to go. The Japanese rider showed his race-craft and speed with second and fourth placings in the opener, and this colourful character is certainly one to watch, as is Aussie, Glen Richards, who made the most of the former World Superbike Kawasaki to chalk up a brace of thirds - his career best results in the championship.

Honda's Steve Plater will be looking for a dramatic improvement as he continues aboard the bike that took Colin Edwards to the World crown last year. The Lincolnshire rider needs a couple of solid performances to ensure that he is not left behind in the rankings.

Superbikes provide the main feature action of the day, but around them there is an action packed supporting programme.

Karl Harris staked his claim for the British Supersport crown, which he held two years ago with a first round victory aboard Honda's latest CBR 600 RR, but nothing will come easy for the young Sheffield rider in this most competitive of classes. Reigning champion, Stuart Easton, will ensure that is the case as he continues for a second year aboard the superbly prepared Monstermob Ducati, and there is a similar bike for Leon Haslam, back in domestic action after three years in Grand Prix.

Twice former champion, Jim Moodie, expects to be on the pace as he heads up the Valmoto Triumph team challenge alongside young Craig Jones, while Padgetts Honda riders John Crockford and Adrian Coates will again be challenging for honours.

David Jefferies, the defending Superstock champion, intends to hit double-top aboard his impressive Suzuki - the Yorkshireman faces a double-race round, which could put him firmly in the driving seat to keep the title, but Andy Tinsley and Luke Quigley, riding for the Buildbase Knotts team, have other ideas. Matt Llewellyn, Jamie Morley and Jason Davis could also be pushing for honours in these production-based races.

John Pearson and Christian Elkin are set to continue their early season scrap for supremacy in the National 125cc GP Championship while Peter Ward could be hard pressed to repeat his opening round success in the Virgin Mobile Yamaha R6 Cup. Tommy Hill, Benjie Cockerill and Cal Crutchlow look the most likely to head him off.

Racing starts at 11.35 on Sunday, following morning practice from 09.30. All qualifying is through Saturday 12 April, from 09.00 with the British Superbike grid deciding Dunlop Super 12 starting at 15.45.

 

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