The MCE Insurance British Superbike Championship returns to Brands Hatch this Easter weekend and Leon Haslam has the target on his back after scoring the opening victories of the season ahead of the two races on the fast and frantic 1.2-mile Indy circuit.

Haslam began his attack on the title in the best possible way, however with five different riders featuring on the podium at the opening round, the ‘Pocket Rocket’ knows the opposition is going to be fierce this Easter Monday.

Brands Hatch marks the return of local hero and defending champion Shane ‘Shakey’ Byrne who was sidelined from the opening two races after a high-speed crash in warm up. The Be Wiser Ducati rider has strong home support at Brands Hatch and is fired up to bounce back from a non-point scoring opening round.

Luke Mossey claimed a second place finish to his team-mate at the season opener and he arrives in Kent holding second in the overall standings, just two points ahead of Christian Iddon, who also claimed a top three finish for Tyco BMW. Mossey and Iddon have not yet tasted victory in MCE BSB so both are going to be pushing hard to change that this weekend.

2015 champion Josh Brookes proved his doubters wrong with a resurgent performance on his return to the series that saw him celebrate a podium finish – the first for the Anvil Hire TAG team since switching to Yamaha. The Australian lies equal on points with Iddon ahead of the two races and will take no prisoners in his mission to return to winning ways.

Glenn Irwin was the fifth rider to score a podium finish at Donington Park for the season opener and the Be Wiser Ducati rider will be eager to maintain his position ahead of the Smiths Racing BMW’s Peter Hickman and McAMS Yamaha’s James Ellison in the standings.

The Brands Hatch Indy circuit event holds fond memories for Sylvain Guintoli and the Frenchman will be eager to repeat his winning performance from 2009 after missing out at the season opener for Bennetts Suzuki. As will his former World Superbike Championship rival Davide Giugliano as he aims for more with Tyco BMW.

MCE Insurance British Superbike Championship standings ahead of Brands Hatch:

  1. Leon Haslam (JG Speedfit Kawasaki) 50
  2. Luke Mossey (JG Speedfit Kawasaki) 31
  3. Christian Iddon (Tyco BMW) 29
  4. Josh Brookes (Anvil Hire TAG Yamaha) 29
  5. Glenn Irwin (Be Wiser Ducati) 26
  6. Peter Hickman (Smiths Racing BMW) 21
  7. James Ellison (McAMS Yamaha) 21
  8. Jason O’Halloran (Honda Racing) 12

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Leon Haslam
JG Speedfit Kawasaki
Championship leader
“I am ready for the weekend; I think for me I just need to get my head down. This year has been the best start for me; this time last season we came into this round on the back foot and this year has been a complete contrast by taking the first two wins.

“It is important to not get too carried away; it is a long season and my concentration is on myself and trying to keep up this winning momentum.

“I am feeling confident. The shorter lap of the Indy circuit means you cannot afford to make any mistakes and you do have to commit to a move; however I have never had a problem with a hard pass and that adds to the races here because everyone does get involved!

“I won here last year and it was only by making a move at the last meter before the line so you really can’t count on anything until the finish. I feel that we are going into this round stronger than last year, but we know that Shakey is going to come out fighting and that this has been a good track for riders like Ellison and Laverty in the past. I think that this could also be a strong round for Guintoli and Giugliano but we will find out on Easter Monday!”

Shane Byrne
Be Wiser Ducati
Defending champion
“I can’t wait to get my season well and truly started this weekend at Brands Hatch; obviously the crash at Donington was far from ideal, but I intend on making up that ground straight away.

“The Indy circuit can always be pretty hectic but as always I have one focus and that is on myself and making sure I am ready to come out fighting for the two race wins.

“The Be Wiser Ducati team have worked so hard over the winter that I need to make amends for missing out at the opening round, and where better to do that, than at my home round!”

Josh Brookes
Anvil Hire TAG Yamaha
2015 champion and round 1 podium finisher
“The results at Donington weren’t a coincidence, they were created, I rode the bike well and the team had done a lot of work in the off season to make the bike good. They did a great job in between race one and two after listening to what I was having trouble with and it improved the package.

“It doesn’t make any difference that it’s four days this weekend; whether if it’s three days, two days or one day the same principles are applied. You can never plan perfectly ahead because you don’t know what is going to be on the horizon, so you can never make a perfect plan of how the weekend will go, because it never goes that way.

“The idea for me is to go as fast as I can from the off. The plan is to do the same as we did Donington, go race the bike and win, it’s simple, and I don’t think this weekend is going to be harder.”