THERE’S a return to familiar surroundings for Stuart Easton in this year’s MCE Insurance British Superbike Championship – and the Teri ace hopes the reunion will help him put last year’s frustration firmly to bed.
Riding for Swan Honda, Easton promised much in 2010 but ultimately failed to deliver, finishing ninth overall despite five podium finishes including one win during round three at Oulton Park.
And with a new season comes new hope for the 27-year-old as he rejoins the Kawasaki team he rode for in 2008 and partners Gary Mason in the garage’s two-pronged attack.
Last time out in Kawasaki leathers Easton ended up 13th, but he is convinced while some of the old faces might still be around, a new bike means an upturn in fortunes.
“The Kawasaki team is pretty much the same as when I was last here,” said Easton. “It’s good to be back, they’ve welcomed me back into the fold and we’re getting great support.
“The bike is all new for 2011, it’s a brand new model. We’ve built a great superbike straight away, it’s straight out of the box, and after three rounds of tests we’ve only had to make very small changes.
“It’s been going well. We’ve done quite a few miles of testing the chassis and the electronics, which is important when it’s a new bike, and a new team.
“Lap times have been reasonable, and the engines are ready for the final tests, and that’ll shape us up nicely for the new season.”
Easton heads to Brands Hatch for the opening round over the Easter weekend in much better condition than 2010, where a pre-season crash left him fighting to be fit for the opening races.
Despite this, Easton still managed top-six finishes and the fact that he heads to the Kent circuit in good health gives him hope that this year will be the one where he underlines his talent.
“We’ve always got something to prove, every year is a new year and you can never rest on your laurels.
“I wasn’t far off the top six overall that battle for the title in the end and if this new bike can push me forwards then I shouldn’t be far off this year.
“We’ve done a lot of testing on the bike this year, we’ve explored every avenue and I’m really looking forward to getting the season underway.”
n British Eurosport 2 will be broadcasting every round of the 2011 MCE Insurance British Superbike Championship. The channel is available on Sky 411 & Virgin Media 525. Watch online via the Eurosport Player www.eurosportplayer.co.uk