EARLY season expectations may have been exceeded but GBmoto Racing Kawasaki rider James Ellison believes the time has come to up the ante.

The 33-year-old currently sits third in the MCE Insurance British Superbikes Championship standings following a double podium finish during round two at Oulton Park last month.

In total, he has four third-place finishes to his name heading to Snetterton this weekend – the first championship round for six weeks.

And with changes to the point-scoring system placing extra incentive on race wins, Ellison is now aiming to take that extra step and the chequered flag.

“It’s still early days and we knew it was going to be a challenge at the start of the year and we may struggle to get podium finishes,” he said.

“But with four in a row that has been surpassed but we need to start winning a few and begin chasing down Shakey (Shane Byrne) a little bit.

“Anyone who has followed the championship for the last few years will know the rules have changed in terms of podium credits throughout the year going towards the Showdown.

“It’s now five points for a win and three points for second as opposed to three and two respectively so the gap between winning and not is much more vital now.

“Snetterton is one of the fastest courses on the calendar and a great track. I’m feeling confident going into the weekend.”

Following some time out in Texas, Ellison retuned to Britain and completed a final test at Snetterton ahead of the championship’s third round.

And after having the time to experiment and fine-tune a few areas requiring improvement, Ellison feels he is in good shape to tackle the Norfolk circuit.

“It was good to get out there and blow some cobwebs away more than anything else as we have had a bit of a gap between races,” he added.

“It was nice to get on a superbike again and there were a few things we wanted to try at Brands Hatch and Outlon Park but couldn’t.

“With only two sessions and qualifying there isn’t that much time to try anything big so it was a good opportunity to try some massive suspension changes and a couple of different engine breaking strategies.

“We wouldn’t normally try such things at a race weekend because you end up wasting a session if it doesn’t work.

“But it was really useful to try some new stuff and experiment and I felt I went fairly quickly to be honest which is promising.”