The new Honda Fireblade made a spectacular BSB debut at the Silverstone season opener, riders' Michael Rutter and Ryuichi Kiyonari taking four podium places - including a race win for Rutter - to grab the early season advantage.

However, the HM Plant backed team will take a step into the unknown this Easter Monday when the CBR1000RRs line-up at Brands Hatch, a circuit which the machines have never tested at before.

Having taken pole position, a win and a third at Silverstone, 30-year-old Rutter is on a roll, but expects a closer battle this bank holiday weekend.
"It was a big relief to get Silverstone out of the way, because the pressure was on to achieve a good result," admitted the championship leader. "I'm now looking forward to Brands Hatch even though I'm not a big fan of the Indy Circuit - I think it's a bit restrictive for Superbike racing.

"We've got a really good set-up for the Fireblade and I think it's going to work well on the smooth surface at Brands," he added. "I'll obviously be going all-out to win again but I'm expecting the short length of the circuit to make it more difficult and much closer."

Meanwhile, team-mate Kiyonari heads to Brands having won hearts and minds with his two second place finishes at Silverstone, on his BSB debut. After a tough part-season in MotoGP last year, it was a performance that proved just why Honda has kept faith in the 21-year-old.

"I really enjoyed my first race in the British Superbike Championship," said the Japanese. "It was very professional and the fans were very friendly. The team worked hard with me to find a good set-up and I was happy with my results.

"I'm not sure what's going to happen at Brands Hatch yet, although my first experience of the circuit at a track day ended with a bit of a bump," he revealed. "Unfortunately, I was in the wrong place at the wrong time and there was oil on the track at Graham Hill Bend!"