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Beckenham racer ready for Brand Hatch season opener this weekend after transitional winter

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Everything around Tommy Hill may have changed since he lifted the British Superbike title – but he insists it will be the same old, same old at the start of the new season.

The Beckenham-born racer claimed the BSB title for the first time back in October, dramatically pipping John Hopkins by three thousandths of a second in the final race of the season at his home circuit, Brands Hatch.

Ahead of the 2012 curtain raiser at the same track this weekend, a lot has happened with not only Hopkins moving to the world paddock, but new rule changes having been implemented.

Costs have been reduced with a view to improving competition while new riders include Noriyuki Haga, Hill’s teammate, and effectively Stuart Easton after his recovery from injury.

One thing that hasn’t changed is Hill’s ride with Swan Yamaha, with the 27-year-old staying put despite world interest, and he admits the build up to round one feels just like it did last year.

“It is great to be back on the bike though the season soon comes round and before you know it you are back at Brands Hatch and I’m trying to keep hold of that title,” said Hill.

“Last year when I won the title at Brands was a mega day and I’ll be trying to do the same again although every year seems to get a little more challenging.

Hurdles

“That may be with the team, the new bike rules, the new electronics and me getting used to it all so the hurdles are there to be overcome and we just have to keep pushing forward.

“Hopefully we’ll do the same as we did last year, but the new teams with lesser budgets will pull up on the grid knowing they have a similar package to the other teams.

“Some people say the top teams and riders will rise to the top but I just have to go out there and do my thing.”

Despite a change in the regulations the top six after round nine will still enter the Showdown for the title – Hill starting it last year on top and staying on top, if only just.

But the Swan Yamaha rider insists that, while there was nothing wrong with last year’s BSB format, he can appreciate why the changes have been made.

“The crowd wants to see different teams and different riders competing and it means the championship doesn’t stagnate.

“There was nothing wrong with the racing last year but the championships want to keep moving forward which might be tricky for some.

“It is exciting, it is a new thing to get over and conquer, but ultimately I know I have a good team behind me so hopefully we’ll keep hold of that number one spot.”

n British Eurosport is the Home of Bikes, showing all MotoGP, World Superbike and British Superbike races on Sky channels 410 and 411 and Virgin Media channels 521 and 525 as well as eurosportplayer.co.uk

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