DENBY DALE’S Tom Tunstall has warned the rest of the privateers he will be the man to beat in this season’s Superbike Cup after falling head over heels for his new bike.
The 23-year-old will ride for Hardinge Doodson Motorsport Honda and has set his sights on John Laverty’s privateers’ crown after finishing fourth in the competition which runs within the main championship last season.
And after a hectic winter of testing on his new CBR1000RR Fireblade bike in Spain in preparation of this weekend’s opening round at Brands Hatch, Tunstall is desperate for the talking to stop and the action to start.
“My aim is pretty simple this year and that is to win the Superbike Cup,” said Tunstall.
“It’s my third year in the Superbikes and I’m really looking forward to it, especially with the new bike.
“The new machines should make a difference to us and I’m really excited about what we could achieve.
“Testing has gone really well – we have been going faster and faster at all of the circuits we have been to and now it’s time to produce the goods.
“The early part of the season is all about preparation and that’s gone well.”
Tunstall racked up 283 points in the privateers competition last term finishing fourth, 186 points adrift of runaway winner Laverty but just 24 short of this season’s favourite Gary Mason’s total which earned him third spot overall.
But with Laverty focussing solely on the main championship this year and Mason harbouring ambitions to shine among the elite Tunstall admits the race to be top dog is wide open this season.
“It isn’t an easy call to pick a winner but we have a better bike and the playing field is more level than ever this year,” said Tunstall.
“The bike is half the battle and to have it where it is now is fantastic.
“The bike we have got has come out of the world superbike paddock and the spec and development of it is a good few steps ahead of what we had last year.
“I’d love to start well at Brands Hatch and, apart from last year, historically it’s a circuit I’ve done well at.
“It’s up to me to produce the goods now and get some positive results under my belt.”
British Eurosport 2 has live coverage from every round of the 2009 British Superbike Championship. See the action on Sky channel 411 or Virgin Media channel 525. Season begins on Monday, April 13, from Brands Hatch and for BSB updates visit uk.eurosport.yahoo.com