Af­ter a Shakey start to sea­son BSB’s su­per­star starts to pile on the pres­sure

MCN - - This Week In MCN - By Oli Rushby BSB RE­PORTER @MCNNews mo­tor­cy­cle­news

Shane Byrne as­serted his po­si­tion at the top of the 2017 MCE Bri­tish Su­per­bike Championship stand­ings with a sub­lime dou­ble vic­tory at Brands Hatch. But it didn’t come easy for the Be Wiser Du­cati rider – af­ter qual­i­fy­ing sixth in a wet qual­i­fy­ing ses­sion, a bad start and sub­se­quent mis­take saw him drop back as far as ninth in the open­ing race. How­ever, the five-times cham­pion showed ex­actly why he re­mains at the top of a se­ries he has dom­i­nated as he carved through the pack in the most ex­cit­ing race of the year to take his 81st BSB vic­tory. He then went on to add an­other vic­tory to his tally in a much more dom­i­nant fashion as for­mer neme­sis Josh Brookes crashed out of the race (see page 72). Byrne’s back-to-back dou­ble wins at Snet­ter­ton and now Brands con­crete his po­si­tion at the top of the stand­ings af­ter a night­mare start to the year saw him fail to score in three of the open­ing four races. But he’s keen not to get ahead of him­self de­spite his ri­vals’ mis­for­tune. “Lead­ing the championship at this point of the year means ab­so­lutely naff all,” he told MCN af­ter the sec­ond race. “I couldn’t care less about it. What I do care about is podium points and we’ve maxed out on those these last two week­ends while Leon, our main ri­val, has only scored one. “That be­ing said, I’m only too aware that three rounds ago I wasn’t even in a Show­down po­si­tion so we can’t count our chick­ens just yet. We need to main­tain this fo­cus, main­tain the pres­sure and ev­ery­thing we’re do­ing to have strong week­ends at Thrux­ton, Cad­well and Sil­ver­stone be­fore launch­ing a full at­tack on a back-to-back ti­tle in the Show­down rounds.” Byrne’s ri­vals have ev­ery rea­son to be con­cerned, with the 40-year-old say­ing he’s found even fur­ther im­prove­ments with the Pani­gale R af­ter fi­nally get­ting his head around the new swingarm the team have been try­ing since Oul­ton Park. “For the first time ever, we’ve gone from a test at one cir­cuit (Cad­well Park) to an event at an­other cir­cuit and not had to change a thing,” Byrne ex­plained. “We just wheeled the bike out and it worked, so it was just a case of re­fin­ing lit­tle bits. Be­cause we were in the zone from the word go, it meant we could con­cen­trate on the things that made life eas­ier. “We’ve been work­ing re­ally hard with the new swingarm. It’s been in for a while now and we’re re­fin­ing the way the bike works the tyre and mak­ing sure we’ve got tyres left at the end of the races. Our pack­age was very strong at Thrux­ton last year and con­sid­er­ing we’ve made an­other small step with the swingarm, I’m re­ally ex­cited to get there.” How­ever, it’s not all rosy for the boys in red as Byrne was able to iden­tify a num­ber of weak­nesses while fight­ing through the pack in the open­ing race, es­pe­cially when he found him­self be­hind the Kawasaki of Haslam. “We got a bit of a shock in the first race as the way I have to ride the bike is very dif­fer­ent to how the four-cylin­der guys ride theirs. I need a nice clear bit of track to come into my own. While chas­ing Leon in race one he was al­ways so late on the brakes and got fired out well, whereas I run re­ally fast into the cor­ner and then when be­hind him I had to al­most stop and the Du­cati doesn’t pick up quite as quickly as the fours!”

of a sixth ti­tle have vastly im­proved On this week­end’s ev­i­dence, Shakey’s chances

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