Honda Racing's Glenn Irwin believes another setup step will need to be taken if he is to challenge for the podium at this weekend's Oulton Bennetts British Superbike Showdown opener.
The Cheshire track has proven tricky for the Fireblade in recent times but improvements this year have given Irwin added confidence.
“Firstly it was really nice to secure the Showdown spot and go into the final three rounds in fourth in the championship and ever so close to third. Now we start again at Oulton Park this weekend," said Irwin.
"The last time we raced there was probably the best round we had there on the Honda – I had my fastest ever lap and since then the bike has changed a bit, particularly with the swingarm and the engine braking so I am optimistic and excited to see how our upgrades feel and work there.
“It was confidence-wise, to be able to run with Brad and Taz, matching their pace in race two and physically being with them in race three, has given us all a great lift at Honda. We aren’t looking at any particular riders, but if anything now I have to look at the three riders in front of me.
“We have a fighting chance to win the championship and I think we have a great chance of finishing in the top three, but I am also very aware that if we drop our game and feel like the job is done now we have made the Showdown that we could end the championship in eighth. That is something we can’t think about whatsoever.
“We need to keep our heads down; Oulton Park is a track that has been more difficult for the Honda in the past but it improved the last time we were there. I feel that with the recent chassis and electronic improvements, we can make another step and a step that will be needed if we will challenge for the podium this weekend.”