Two-time Bennetts British Superbike Champion Josh Brookes will defend his title for the first time in 2021 - starting at Oulton Park this weekend - but doesn’t believe he is a target for the pack.
The Australian, who won the title back in 2015 but went off to WorldSBK the following year, has remained with the Visiontrack Ducati team for a third season and thinks the competition are more focused on improving themselves.
“I’m interested on getting started this year at a track where we’ve had good results. We’ve got a history of doing well at Oulton Park with the Ducati so to open the season up there will be good - I’m interested to see how we’ll go this time round,” said Brookes.
“I don’t really feel like I’m a target so much, but maybe that is for other people perhaps. Winning the championship last year doesn’t define me, so for example it won’t change how I self analyse or prepare.
“You know, to come second, third or fourth in the championship is almost as much as what the champion did, and for as long as I’ve been in BSB, I’ve been in the top five let’s say, I’ve been doing very similar as to what it takes to win the championship in the years that I haven’t secured the title.
Every year takes the same amount of work and desire and perseverance and sacrifice to get there, and so I don’t really change my perspective on how I start the season. I wouldn’t put myself in a position where I’m the target.
“I think everybody is going to be looking at improving themselves and looking at who the challengers are going to be, so to get the season started at a circuit where we’ve had good results, I think is just a positive for me and it’ll be good for us to see how well we can get the season started.”
Brookes ended the recent official test at Oulton Park fifth fastest on the combined times, bouncing back positively from a high-speed crash at the Silverstone test which left him sidelined from the limited track action at Snetterton.
“Testing has gone fine” said Brookes. “We haven’t had any new fancy parts, so it’s more been about just refreshing the settings that we’re already familiar with and just seeing if we can manipulate a tenth or two here and there.
“The thing that has really been a focus for us, particularly during the test is the SCX tyre, which has been introduced. It’s something a little different compared to what we had last year, so we have to try that at each track and see how the bike responds with it and see where the potential lies.
“So on that front testing has gone well, the negative was crashing at the end of the Silverstone test and having the finger issue. I didn’t lose anything from not going to Snetterton, as it was wet and miserable, but we are ready to go to Oulton Park now.”
The action kicks off on Friday so check back for all the news, gossip, times and results from the season opener.