The British Superbike title may have already gone to Shane Byrne, but the remaining championship placings have yet to be decided at Donington this weekend, with Honda's Steve Plater and Mark Heckles intent on improving their overall positions.

Plater is still in the hunt for third place overall and the 31-year-old Lincolnshire rider has been on form in the second half of the world's leading domestic Superbike series.

After a relatively slow start to the season, Plater has been consistently improving, culminating in two race wins - at Oulton Park and Cadwell Park - and his rise up the championship points table.

"I'm on course for my best ever finish in the British Superbike Championship," said Plater. "When you take everything into consideration that's happened this season, I've got to be happy with that. However, I haven't given up on third place overall and I'll be giving it 110 per cent as always to achieve my goal. I'm only 17 points behind Michael Rutter with two races left, so anything can happen under racing conditions.

"I've spent a lot of time at Donington Park and it has got to rank as one of my favourite circuits. Twin-cylinder machines have always gone well there in the past and so I'm looking forward to racing at the GP circuit on the VTR1000 SP-2. We've made a lot of progress over the second half of the season and I hope that we can carry that right through to the chequered flag at the last round."

Heckles has had contrasting fortunes on the 2002 Superbike World Championship winning machine. The 27-year-old Liverpudlian was a late signing for Honda Racing and then missed some rounds due to the injuries he sustained as a result of crashes at Brands Hatch and Cadwell Park. However he has played a key part in the progress that the team made during the season and enjoyed a string of credible top ten finishes.

"I've had a thoroughly enjoyable and exciting adventure with Honda Racing in 2003," said Heckles. "I may not have had the best of luck with injuries, but riding for such a professional team has been everything that I'd expected - and more! Sometimes you have to take the rough with the smooth in racing, but I've worked hard and kept positive throughout.

"Like the last round at Brands Hatch, I'm going to one of the few circuits where I have had some experience in the past. That in itself means that I'm really looking forward to racing at Donington where Honda Racing has enjoyed much success over the years. I'm more or less 100 per cent fit and I don't think that the shoulder I injured at Cadwell will cause me any problems."

 

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