FOUR champions are expected to line up on the grid in the first race of the Pirelli National Superstock 1000 Championship season.

Lewis Rollo is determined to make sure that number rises to five by the end of the year after confirming he will return to the prestigious series.

He has swapped the In Competition Aprilia team for a spot with Lee Hardy Racing, after sixth and third place finishes in the championship in the last two years.

Rollo, who lives near Gifford, was clear in his aim for the coming campaign, which gets under way at Oulton Park in May.

He said: “The aim is to win it.

“A lot of people say to learn a big bike takes three years and this is going to be my third season in a row in Superstock 1000.

“I’ve learnt quite a lot in the last two years and do not see why we cannot fight for the championship.

“Last year, I got wiped out at Donington and we would have been even closer to second place and first place in the championship if that didn’t happen.”

Rollo was victorious at Oulton Park last season and will be aiming to impress on the Kawasaki.

However, it is a talent-packed field, with no fewer than four men who have been crowned champion set to line up on the starting grid.

Rollo said: “Chrissie Rouse won it last year and he is still in it.

“He is going to be quick and there is talk of Taylor Mackenzie and Keith Farmer moving back from the British Superbikes and they have both won it before and will be really strong straight away.

“Richard Cooper is coming back from injury after last season and he has won the championship.

“He will be fighting and there will be the Neave brothers [Tim and Tom], who are going to be quick and are riding a Honda and Suzuki.

“Everybody says it but this is the hardest year again.”

Rollo, 21, should begin testing on the new Kawasaki Ninja ZX-10RR next month.

The racing season will take him the length and breadth of the country, with the home round of Knockhill once again on the calendar.

Rollo was excited about the upcoming campaign and said: “I have known Lee since I was 12 years old and have always followed the team’s progress.

“Last year, I had an amazing season and I learnt a lot; I want to build on that this year and keep progressing.

“This year stepping onto the Kawasaki, I’m hoping to take that next step forward and try to win the championship before hopefully moving up to British Superbikes (BSB) with Lee Hardy Racing.

“I can’t wait to get started with the team and get out on the new 2021 Kawasaki Ninja ZX-10RR.

“I would like to say a huge thanks to the team for the opportunity and to all my sponsors for making this possible.”

Lee Hardy, team owner, welcomed Rollo to the team, with the news made official last week.

He said: “Lewis has really impressed me with his performances in the championship, especially last year, so we are excited to see what he can deliver on board the new Kawasaki.

“This is a class that the team first started out in and one which I have always had a passion for.

“I would also like to take this opportunity to thank all of our team partners as we look ahead to the 25th anniversary season of Bennetts BSB.”