SHAKEY READY FOR OULTON RUMBLE
Shane Byrne began his fight for an unprecedented fifth MCE British Superbike Championship title at the Silverstone season opener three weeks ago and he’s ready to take it to the next level at Oulton Park for round two this Bank Holiday weekend.
Having swapped from Kawasaki to Ducati, Byrne and his PBM Be Wiser team endured a rollercoaster preseason with both impressive and disappointing tests. But by the time race day came they proved that regardless of manufacturer their determination to fight is unchanged. At Silverstone, despite not standing on the top step of the podium, Shakey took the series lead having secured two second place finishes.
“People can’t take anything away from me or my team,” said Byrne. “We want to win more races than we have in any other year. I want to win the title at the end of the year and I know I am not going to do that by dolloping around in fifth or sixth place!”
Oulton Park, however, is a circuit made up of the blind crests and undulations and a complete contrast to the open, wide expanse of Silverstone. To get up to speed ahead of the race, Byrne and the team conducted a test at the Scottish circuit, Knockhill.
Byrne said: “I did 113 laps and we initially started with the same setting we used at Silverstone. It was about getting work done and I feel that we have made some pretty good steps.
“I would like to think that the work we have done at Knockhill is going to keep up the progress we have been making since pre-season testing. We have stuck to our plan throughout, and OK I haven’t been headlining the timesheets, but I am getting closer and closer. When you have a brand new bike in its absolute infancy, chipping away and learning as we go, to walk away from the first round leading the championship is a pretty cool thing,” said a confident Byrne.
Despite the positive start to the season, Byrne knows that it is going to take consistency and keeping the podiums rolling in which will prove crucial in the end of season Showdown for the title.
“I’ve been around the Showdown a long time now and I know that leading at this point of the year means naff all,” joked Byrne. “I just want to concentrate on doing the best I can, improving the bike as best I can and pulling out as many podiums and wins before we get into the Showdown.”
The opening races of the season threw up some new challenges for Byrne to deal with. Kawasaki rider Peter Hickman previously had just a single race win to his credit, but he doubled that at Silverstone in a stunning race two win. Byrne said: “Peter is a very underrated rider. He always had two or three standout rounds per year for sure and that isn’t to say he doesn’t the rest of the time, but you would look and think he can be there.” The other standout performance was that of the Tyco BMW team of race one winner Michael Laverty and double podium man Christian Iddon. But despite the level of competition, Byrne says it’s too early to predict his title rivals. “I always focus on what I am doing on track, but to see different riders battling at the front is cool, it is maintaining it over the season which is the important thing.”
‘I’m not going to win the title by dolloping around in fifth’
standings: Chaz Davies.
In MCE British Superbikes, round one sensation Christian Iddon secured good points after his double podium, all of which was enough for Bell to take the early lead.
Bell wins a set
of Michelin Power Supersport Evo Tyres and the overall winner at the end of the season will receive a VIP trip to a European round of Moto GP in 2017 courtesy of Bennetts.