WEL­COME! BSB

SEA­SON PRE­VIEW New bike, new mo­ti­va­tion, same goal. Byrne targets BSB ti­tle num­ber five 39 297 68 4

Motorcycle News (UK) - - BSB Preview -

Wel­come to MCN’S 12-page MCE Bri­tish Su­per­bike sea­son pre­view cel­e­brat­ing 20 years of the cham­pi­onship and what prom­ises to be an epic year of rac­ing. With 26 races over 12 rounds, in­clud­ing the edge-of-the-seat three-round fi­nal Show­down, the sea­son will be both long and in­tense.

In terms of riders and teams it prom­ises to be a golden year for the cham­pi­onship with an in­trigu­ing mix of es­tab­lished old guard up against an ex­cit­ing breed of young guns des­per­ate to make their mark on the world.

Four-time cham­pion Shane Byrne re­mains the bench­mark ev­ery other rider on the grid has to as­pire to. Byrne may be one of the old­est on the grid at the age of 39, but he is also one of the fittest and most fo­cused. And for 2016 his mo­ti­va­tion couldn’t be higher fol­low­ing his PBM team’s switch from Kawasaki to Du­cati dur­ing the off sea­son.

But while on pa­per he starts as favourite, try telling that to his ri­vals who in­clude WSB re­turnee Leon Haslam, a re­ju­ve­nated John Hop­kins who’ll be rid­ing 2015 BSB champ Josh Brookes’ Yamaha R1 and the ever present race win­ners James El­li­son and Michael Laverty.

The young hope­fuls gather both num­bers and mo­men­tum each year and will be fo­cused on mix­ing up the BSB peck­ing or­der. There’s so many to men­tion which is why we’ve cov­ered ev­ery sin­gle BSB rider on the grid over the next six pages so that you have the low down on all the con­tenders.

We’ve also put to­gether a guide to cham­pi­onship to turn you in to BSB ex­pert and taken a look at the his­tory of the se­ries and what makes BSB so unique and spe­cial.

QU­AT­TRO PLANT KAWASAKI

Age

Races

Best re­sult

Ti­tles

BE WISER DU­CATI

The 39-year-old is the only man to have won the cham­pi­onship four times but he re­mains hun­gry for an­other ti­tle to add to those he col­lected in 2003, 2008, 2012 and 2014.

Shakeyõs 2016 chal­lenge was given new im­pe­tus with his PBM teamõs switch from Kawasaki to Du­cati for 2016. V-twin power holds no fear for the Lon­doner, hav­ing raced and won WSB and BSB races on the Mon­ster­mob, Air­waves, Ster­il­garda and Althea liv­er­ied Du­catis dur­ing his long and suc­cess­ful ca­reer.

His­tory has shown that the Ital­ian ma­chineõs com­pet­i­tive­ness at world level has been de­pen­dent upon the high level ex­ploita­tion of elec­tronic aids that are now banned in BSB. Try­ing to adapt the big V-twin to the con­straints of a con­trolled ECU has proved test­ing at times for both Shakey and his PBM team Ð but only a fool would dis­miss the chances of such a proven class act as Shakey.

Shakey re­mains con­vinced that he will be in the run­ning for that fifth cham­pi­onship come the Show­down. One of his prime mo­ti­va­tors in achiev­ing that goal has been the pain he suf­fered in los­ing his ti­tle to Josh Brookes and the Mil­wau­kee Yamaha last year.

Òthat was a pretty bit­ter pill to swal­low,ó he says dis­con­so­lately.

Òjosh and I donõt get on, that is a fact. I had no idea why in the be­gin­ning but he cer­tainly gave me good rea­son not to like him. It is hard to take when you have raced a guy for six or seven years and beaten him ev­ery sin­gle year and then he jumps on a bike that seems to be that much bet­ter than ev­ery­body elseõs, takes a ti­tle, acts like a hero and clears off.ó

Byrne has kept that agony close as he plots his come­back in 2016. Òev­ery time you are in the gym and you feel that you canõt give any more it is there to re­mind you that if you want the ti­tle back you are go­ing to have work harder.ó As with all great cham­pi­ons, Shakeyõs self be­lief re­mains in­tact, re­gard­less of the chal­lenges and chal­lengers that now sur­round him.

Òev­ery year I get asked who is go­ing to be my main ri­val,ó he smiles.

ÒI never pick any­one be­cause I never look any fur­ther than my­self and my own crew. If I start fo­cus­ing on what other peo­ple are do­ing, I am not fo­cused on what I am do­ing my­self. But if we fo­cus on what we need to do, then by Sun­day af­ter­noon we will be there or there­abouts.ó

Races

Ti­tles

TYCO BMW

Chris­tian Id­don may have joined Tyco BMW in 2016 as num­ber two to Michael Laverty but that means the 31-year-old can use his team-mate as a gauge for his own progress on the S1000RR.

“The bike is al­ready in a good place, both riders were in the Show­down last year and I’ve an ex­cel­lent rider on the other side of the garage who is good at get­ting a bike set up,” the Manch­ester man says.

“That means I can re­lax a lit­tle bit and con­cen­trate on get­ting up to speed.”

Id­don was only a tenth off Laverty’s

Age

Wins

Ti­tles

Ti­tles

TEAM WD40 KAWASAKI

Races

Best re­sult

Ti­tles

30

147

4th

Part of the MCE Bri­tish Su­per­bike fur­ni­ture now, Jes­sopp will be a con­sis­tent points scorer dur­ing the sea­son and look­ing to break into the top 10 reg­u­larly in 2016.

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