Everything’s different, but stays the same – Hill

First published in Motorsport News

EVERYTHING around Tommy Hill may have changed since he lifted the British Superbike title last year - but he insists it will be the same old same old at the start of this season.

Hill 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 Brands Hatch.

But, ahead of the 2012 curtain raiser at the same track, a lot has happened with not only Hopkins moving to the world paddock but new rule changes implemented.

Costs have been reduced with a view to improving competition while new riders include Noriyuki Haga, Hill's teammate, and Stuart Easton.

One thing that hasn't changed is Hill's ride with Guisborough-based Swan Yamaha, 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 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.

"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 the top riders will still 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 which Hill topped for the whole of last season.

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," he added.

"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."

And Hill's teammate Haga - a three-time World Superbike runner-up - insists he is ready to hit the ground running in Kent this weekend.

"I have a good feeling on the Swan Yamaha and I am ready to race," he said.

"I have been making changes with the suspension and engine braking but I am happy."

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