After spending recent seasons with leading outfits Monstermob Ducati and Virgin Yamaha, Sean Emmett is "taking on the millionaires" by returning to the role of underdog for the 2006 Bennetts British Superbike season - a situation he "thrives on".

Emmett will be riding an Ipone Racing Kawasaki on a shoestring budget this season, but suffered a scare in testing at Snetterton last weekend when a heavy highside saw the former grand prix rider lucky to escape injury - while his bike was left badly damaged

"Yeah, it was amazing I got away with that one," admitted Sean, speaking during an interview with Radio. "It was very cold at Snetterton and I just got caught out, maybe with a cold tyre, highsided and did quite a bit of damage to the one and only bike I've got - which wasn't ideal just a week before racing - but the guys are flat out and we will be there at Brands."

Dispute the accident, Emmett was boosted by his pace at the test - in which he lapped comfortably inside the top ten - so what is the exact specification of his bike?

"It's an '05 chassis but Ray Stringer, who does all the engine work, is an absolute guru. He's got tremendous horsepower out of the bike and it's very rideable so I think people are going to be surprised," revealed Sean. "In testing we were pretty much as quick as the factory Hondas, so it's not going to be lacking on the speed front."

Nevertheless, having ridden for many of the top teams in BSB, Emmett is fully aware of the size of the task he is facing this season - when he will line-up alongside defending champion's Airwaves Ducati, plus the likes of HM Plant Honda, Rizla Suzuki, Stobart Honda, Virgin Yamaha and Hawk Kawasaki.

"Well it's tough isn't it?" he admitted. "You've got people like Birdy (Stobart Honda boss Paul Bird) buying ?25,000 pairs of forks - and having four sets of them. That sort of budget would get us through most of the year! It's sort of 'David and Goliath'. We're hoping to just upset the applecart a bit, go back to grassroots racing - turn up in a van, one bike, few lads, get some decent rubber on it and go and mix it with the millionaires."

But being the underdog has worked well for Emmett in the past and he's convinced it brings out the best in him: "Yeah I like being the underdog. I thrive on it. I prefer it when people write you off and think 'oh, he won't do much on that' - it brings out the best in me," he declared.

Meanwhile, viewers will be able to follow Emmett's season in detail by reading a new column written by his girlfriend, Lauren Carter. But is Sean worried that any deep, dark secrets might be let out the bag? "No, no. I'm always in trouble anyway so it doesn't really matter!" he smiled. "Let them have it!"

The 2006 Bennetts British Superbike season starts this weekend at Brands Hatch.