The battle for the British Superbike Championship is already hotting up after two rounds. The tens of thousands of fans that flocked to Silverstone and Snetterton have been treated to four spectacular Superbike races, with Honda Racing duo Steve Plater and Mark Heckles in the thick of the action.

Heckles has been brought in for two rounds - Snetterton last weekend and this Sunday's meeting at Thruxton - to bolster Plater's challenge for the title. The signs are that Plater is responding to the challenge with a strong second round at Snetterton, which has elevated him to ninth place overall in the championship. And with ten rounds (20 races) still to go, there's much to play for.

"I was much happier with my results at Snetterton," explained Plater. "The team has been working hard to help me to adjust to the VTR1000 SP-2. We've established which areas we have to work on to find a better set-up to suit my riding style and so we know that we are heading in the right direction.

"I quite like Thruxton and have really enjoyed competing there over the years. It's a brilliant place to ride around in the dry, but it can be more challenging when it rains. Hopefully, the weather will be kind to us and the big bank holiday crowd will be treated to some fantastic racing. Thruxton has been good to me in the past and with a bit of luck I'll be able to climb further up the points table on Sunday."

Heckles' temporary two-round stint on the factory VTR1000 SP-2 will come to an end at Thruxton. The 27-year-old Liverpool rider was unlucky not to finish the first race at Snetterton but he came back strongly to beat his team-mate in the second leg of his British Superbike Championship debut.

"Overall, I was pleased with my performance at Snetterton," said Heckles. "It was a really good weekend and I hope that there'll be a lot more to come from myself and the VTR1000 SP-2. I may have missed pre-season testing and Silverstone, but as fresh legs often prove, I've managed to go reasonably well.

"The Honda Racing team was fantastic and helped me to settle into the groove almost immediately. After the unfortunate circumstances surrounding the first race, I rode reasonably cautiously in the second to ensure that I brought it home over a full race distance. I'm playing a bit of catch-up with the regular British Superbike riders because I haven't raced regularly in the UK since 2000, but I'm looking forward to going to Thruxton on a competitive package with Honda Racing."



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