Xavi Fores is heading into the unknown but is relishing the challenge as he takes on his Bennetts British Superbike debut having joined Honda Racing for 2019.

The Spanish rider ended 2018 as a regular World Superbike podium fighter but after finding himself without a ride he moves into BSB with the Honda Racing squad and now gears up for the task of learning a number of new circuits in a new championship adapting to the Honda Fireblade.

After finishing the Silverstone BSB test ninth quickest last week, having backed out of a late flying lap, and impressing during the winter tests in Spain and Portugal the BSB rookie feels content with the early progress he’s made with Honda and is hopeful of building upon it at the opening round.

“Finally it’s Round 1 this weekend it feels like it has been a very long winter,” Fores said. “We had a very good final test at Silverstone last week and we have made a great improvement with the Fireblade.

“The last time I rode Silverstone was 2011, but it was on the GP circuit, so I had some time to adjust to the shorter layout. At the start I was missing some reference points with braking and getting on the gas, but towards the end of the day we had improved and were constantly on the pace.

“During the final session I went out on a new tyre and was doing a flying lap, but had a big highside and nearly crashed, so I decided to finish the day and not risk anything a week before the race.

“The Fireblade is working really well and I know we have a good base setting for the race weekend. A huge thanks to the team for all their hard work getting us to where we are now, I am looking forward to my first BSB race and can’t wait to experience the weekend.”

Fores is the first Spanish rider to take on a full BSB campaign since Gregorio Lavilla’s three-year stint in the national series, which included his 2005 title success, while Fores is the first rider from his home nation to compete the championship for eight years following Joan Lascorz’s 2011 Brands Hatch GP wildcard.

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