SHAKEY OFF TO A FAST START
Former champion brings methodical approach to fifirst test to get the basics right on his new BSB Panigale
Four-time MCE British Superbike champion Shane Byrne has completed his first test onboard the full Bsb-spec Be Wiser PBM Ducati he will attempt to win a record-breaking fifth BSB title on in 2016.
Byrne took to the Portimao track alongside team-mate Glenn Irwin, fellow BSB Ducati rider Danny Buchan, and World Superbike duo Chaz Davies and Davide Giugliano for two days, as the team set out to start afresh after their switch from Kawasaki.
But while Shakey admits that there’s still a lot of work to be done with the new bike, he was upbeat about the potential of the Panigale R when he spoke exclusively to MCN after the test.
“It would be really easy to get excited
about what we’ve already achieved, but I think the fundamental thing that excites me is the potential – where I think we can get to.
“Don’t get me wrong, it’s been a good start, and there are lots and lots of positives. But at the same time the good thing for me is that we’re not at the end of development – we’re back at the beginning. I’ve only done 85 laps and in that time where we’ve got to has been phenomenal so we need to keep focusing on where we can get to.”
Due to the infancy of the project this wasn’t a test for trying to smash the lap record, instead it was an exercise in teamwork and discipline as the squad began working through a meticulous development strategy. The first priority is dialling in BSB’S controlled Motec electronics and refining the fundamentals including fuel mapping, throttle response and engine braking.
“We’re not miles from where we need to be, but there’s plenty still to be done before we start worrying about stuff like chassis set-up. But whilst we’re doing this work now and maybe making it a bit long-winded, by doing it properly we can get it out of the way.
“I’d rather do all the hard work now, and then start working on making it more usable. It’s working methodically now that’ll make the end result more competitive than if we just cheated a bit by making it easier to ride without fixing the problems that would mask in the first place.”
Byrne also admitted to MCN that the last few months have left him with many sleepless nights, after his initial run on the Panigale back in November.
“When I rode it in Valencia, there were parts of it that were so unbelievably good that I just couldn’t get my head around them. There were others that didn’t play to my strength – but the bits I’ve struggled with in past seasons were phenomenal!”
With two more days of testing scheduled for Almeria before the team return to England to continue development, the 39-year-old is upbeat that they’ll have a race-winning package in time for the first round.
“I don’t want to talk about what we’ve done or how fast we’ve gone - I’m happy with both of those. But I’m far more focused on where we can get than on what we’ve already done. It’s stuff that we’re going to chip away with. I’m peaking, but I’m keeping it under control. It’s good to be this far ahead at the minute, but where we end up is going to make me so much happier.”
‘I’d rather do all the hard work now then make it more usable’