Airwaves Ducati return to Bennetts British Superbike action at this weekend's Brands Hatch season opener aware that they are now "the target" after clinching championship victory last year.

Unfortunately for their rivals - again expected to be led by the factory HM Plant Honda team - Airwaves should be stronger than ever in 2006, having retained champion Gregorio Lavilla and race winning team-mate Leon Haslam, while securing a supply of brand new, factory spec, 999F06 machines.

This time last year, Lavilla - initially signed as a temporary stand-in rider for the injured James Haydon - started his championship winning season by gaining podium places in both races, and returns this weekend with a greater knowledge of the British circuits and after four successful pre-season tests.

"I am really happy with where I am compared to this time last year," confirmed the Spaniard. "I have had the opportunity to test with the team and having ridden the Brands Hatch Indy circuit before I am excited about going there again. The circuit has such good memories for me from the last round in 2005 (where he clinched the title) that I can't wait to get back there to start the new season. I am feeling very confident for this year and I think the Airwaves Ducati team will be the ones to watch!"

Meanwhile, the 2005 season opener saw Haslam quality in pole position and finish the second race in fourth, having DNF'd race one - but the Briton expects much better after impressive testing performances.

"I learnt a great deal last season and I am excited about getting back out there and improving on my final championship position. Testing in South Africa and Spain went really well and I am really confident with the new bike and the season ahead; I just want to get started," he said.

"Obviously 2005 was a great year for the team and with Gregorio and Leon staying on for a second year we know we are the target for other teams this season," added team manager Colin Wright. "We are now familiar with the F06 bike, had four great tests and the whole team just can't wait to get going."