Bruce Anstey is eagerly anticipating the onset of the new international road racing season after unveiling his new-look Padgett's Honda machines, which will be backed by oil giant Valvoline this year.
Anstey will ride a full stable of machines for the Batley-based team while John McGuinness will maintain his long association with Clive Padgett in the Supersport and Superstock classes.
The duo's first roads outing this year will be at the Vauxhall International North West 200 in May and Kiwi Anstey is relishing his annual appearance at the famous event in Northern Ireland.
"I won as a newcomer at the North West back in 2002 and I have always loved coming back," he said. "Racing there is all about getting into the right place at the right time and not getting caught out on the coast road. You have to stay really switched on."
Anstey will be 45 this year but the New Zealand star shows no signs of slowing down and is aiming to maintain his terrific record of finishing on the rostrum at least once at the North West, Isle of Man TT and Ulster Grand Prix over the past 11 seasons.
"The Honda won't be the fastest bike out there in the Superbike class and that makes it harder to win races at the North West where speed is so important on the straights but we will be in there," Anstey said.
"Alastair Seeley will be hard to beat as usual and there are loads of other people who are capable of winning. We just need some sunshine this year and there will be plenty of close racing and a great atmosphere.
"The weather has made things difficult the last few years but I don't mind the rain. It kind of evens everything out a bit," added Anstey, who holds the fastest road racing lap record ever at 133.975mph set at the Ulster GP on the Relentless TAS Suzuki in 2010.
"This will be my fourth year in a row with Clive and the Padgett's team. It's like a family here and Clive is good at reading riders. He knows how to get the best out of them," he said. "You never feel under pressure to perform but he gives you the confidence to do well."
Team boss Padgett added: "Bruce is brilliant. He just turns up and goes fast everywhere – there is never any fuss. It is great to have two riders like John and Bruce in our team.
"We see ourselves as a 'mates racing team' and this deal with Valvoline will ensure we are able to keep doing what we do."
Anstey will join Glen Richards at the opening two rounds of the National Superstock 1000 Championship at Brands Hatch and Oulton Park as preparation for the North West 200 on May 17.