Honda Racing will line up for the fourth round of the British Superbike Championship with Steve Plater and new signing Mark Heckles looking to build on their recent performances.

Steve Plater took fourth and fifth positions respectively last time out at Thruxton, moving him to sixth overall in the riders' championship, but more importantly he feels he's finally getting to grips with his new machine.

"Honda Racing has been working really hard to develop the bike to suit my style," explained Plater. "There's no doubt that we've been making good progress with the VTR1000 SP-2 and everything just clicked at Thruxton. I now have a much better feel for the bike than I've had before and that made all the difference.

"I've always struggled at Oulton in the past during qualifying, but seem to be able to turn it around on race day," admitted Steve. "It seems that the harder you try, the slower you go. I've learnt to get myself settled down into the race and come into my own over race distance. Last year was obviously fantastic, when I won my first British Superbike event in July and managed to set a new lap record - before Steve Hislop broke it again in race two."

After temporary rides at the last two rounds of the series, Heckles has been made a permanent edition to the team since he took two eighth-placed finishes at Thruxton over the Easter weekend, and is eagerly anticipating the rest of the championship, starting with his local circuit, Oulton Park, this Monday.

"I feel like a weight has been lifted off my shoulders," said the 27-year-old Liverpudlian. "The security of knowing that I've got such a good ride for the rest of the year will hopefully give me the confidence to build on my performances so far this season.

"The VTR1000 SP-2 was on the pace at Thruxton and we're definitely going in the right direction. I'd never actually raced at Thruxton before, so I was pleased with my results," he added. "Oulton is of course a different matter - it's my local circuit and a special place for me to go back to. I've spent a lot of time there, which gives me some confidence for the Bank Holiday weekend, but it will still be a big challenge."

Heckles will miss the fifth round of the British Superbike Championship at Knockhill on 17-18 May due to Honda Racing's resources having already been committed to participating in the North West 200 and Isle of Man TT road racing events.



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