KYLE Newman might have racked up nine paid 10 in his first Elite League outing of the year, but the ambitious reserve has promised he is capable of even better in Pirates kevlars.

The Poole-born rider was one of the unsung heroes in the 52-37 win over Eastbourne on Wednesday as Pirates began their Elite League title defence in fine style.

However, despite totalling three times his starting average, Newman insisted he can perform better in future meetings and cited gating as an area that needed attention.

He told the Daily Echo: “I didn’t feel totally comfortable out there and I don’t feel I’m riding to my full capability just yet, but we’re improving.

“I’ve got to work on my starting. It makes the job a lot easier if you lead from the front.

“It’s great passing people and you always get more satisfaction doing that, but if you can get out front and control the race then everything’s a lot easier and you end up with a lot more points in the bank.”

The 22-year-old reserve was among those impressed by the team-riding and points-scoring of Shamek Pawlicki and Maciej Janowski against the Eagles, the Polish pair racking up 23 points between them and bossing heats 11 and 15.

Newman continued: “Shamek and Magic are just awesome. They look so smooth and fast on the bike.

“If you have got the confidence to look for your team-mate and stick to a line then that’s perfect and hopefully that can rub off on the rest of the team.”

Meanwhile, Pirates captain Darcy Ward has confirmed he will return to action in the European Grand Prix in Bydgoszcz on April 26.

Ward will not undergo an operation on the broken thumb he sustained in the New Zealand Grand Prix having sought a second opinion from doctors in Torun.

He also suffered concussion and soft tissue damage in his left knee in the crash.

Pirates were at the time of writing yet to receive approval from the British Speedway Promoters’ Association to use club asset Chris Holder in Monday’s meeting at home to Coventry.