BRADFORD motorcycling ace Dean Harrison is back on the big stage this weekend, as the 2023 British Superbikes Championship gets underway.

And what a way to start, with the opening round taking place at the iconic Silverstone track, home to the British Grand Prix.

Harrison is better known as a superstar on the roads, having famously won the prestigious Isle of Man Senior TT crown in 2019.

But he has been a regular on the British Superbikes circuit for a few years now.

Yet while wins and podiums are commonplace for the Bradfordian in road races, he has struggled to make a big impact in this Championship, having failed to crack the top 20 in the final standings at any point since his competition debut in 2017.

Despite competing in all but one round last season, he only managed to come a miserable 25th in the standings, picking up just eight points, with a best finish of 12th in the final event at Brands Hatch.

DAO Racing Kawasaki rider Harrison is determined to put up a better challenge this time around, saying: “The plan is certainly to do better than last year.

“When you’re coming up against top-quality factory teams, and you’re not, it does make life a bit hard, but I’m really looking forward to seeing what we can do.”

Harrison is feeling a little more confident after testing at Silverstone only last week, saying: “I’m all good to go.

“It was good to be down there for the final pre-season test last week, and while the weather wasn’t perfect then, it’s meant to not be too bad this weekend.

“It’s nice to get back out on track and I’m looking forward to see how the bike goes with the new parts we’ve got on it.”

Harrison is not long back from testing in Spain either, and he said: “It’s good to be out there at this time of year.

“It’s similar conditions there in March as it is in Britain during the summer, so it’s good to have that given most of the British Superbikes season takes place between May and September.”

Harrison is set to be at Oulton Park and Donington Park for rounds two and three in May, but there is also some road action for the Bradford star in between those events.

Asked how his road calendar is looking, the 34-year-old said: “The North West 200 is up first over in Northern Ireland in the middle of next month (May 11-13).

“That only comes a few weeks before the Isle of Man TT (June 3-10) for me too.”

The TT is usually the highlight of Harrison’s season, and that has long been the case for a fellow Bradfordian too, Bingley native Ian Hutchinson.

The 43-year-old is a 16-time winner at the famous event, but he won’t be competing there this year, having suffered a stroke while cycling in Spain at the end of February.

Despite making a remarkable recovery since, his licence has been revoked for 12 months as part of the sport’s safety protocols.

The news came as a shock to Harrison, who gets on well with his fellow Bradford native.

He said: “I couldn’t believe it, because you just wouldn’t expect it to happen to one of us.

“It shows the mentality we have as riders I guess, because it looks like he just wants to get on with the job again already, though obviously he can’t because of his licence being suspended.”