Four-time champion gets a rude awakening onboard his Ducati in latest round of BSB testing
“I think it is fair to say we got a bit of a rude awakening when we got out on track on the first day.”
That was Shane Byrne’s frank assessment after finishing over a second off the pace at the Cartagena MCE British Superbike test last week with a fastest lap of 1 minute 34.8 seconds on his PBM/BE Wiser Ducati.
The PBM squad arrived a day later than their opposition, expecting to be competitive with the new Ducatis after a successful outing at Portimao last month.
“I came here brimming with confidence and convinced that the Ducati would suit this place perfectly,” Byrne explained. “I was peaking, but from the first laps it was obvious we had problems. All of a sudden, two sessions in, I was thinking ‘what has gone wrong?’.”
To add insult to injury the four-time champion ended up in the gravel trap two days running.
“I got a bit carried away at the end of the first day and tipped off,” Shakey grimaced. “Then on the second day I had a pair of tyres left at the end of the day and I thought, ‘let’s go, go, go, let’s really ride this thing’ and I made exactly the same little mistake I had made at the end of the first day and slipped off into the gravel again. It was a simple mistake, just me wanting to go fast.”
The 39-year-old admitted he was surprised by the bike’s lack of rideability at Cartagena.
“It has been frustrating looking at the guys going fast. I’ve won more races than any of those guys, I’ve probably got more experience than 90% of them and I’ve won more championships than all of them. So to see myself down the order was a bitter pill.”
Shakey described the Ducati problem in graphic detail on Sunday evening.
“The biggest problem was that the bike felt as if it had 6000 horsepower all the time,” he smiled ruefully.
“The speed of the bike was very, very good in Portugal and it felt really rideable. Here it felt like it had 300bhp more than it actually has so you are kind of playing with two or three degrees of throttle and those three degrees are trying to kill you.”
Byrne attributes the problems to the difficulty in setting up the Ducati with the BSB control Motec ECU.
“When you buy a Ducati you buy a bike with Magnetti Marelli ignition,” he explained. “In BSB we obviously
‘ The problem was that the bike felt as if it had 6000bhp
all the time’