Will Shakey make it six?
Byrne is in a strong position on his Ducati going into next year’s MCE British Superbike Championship, but it won’t be easy for the 40-yearold to secure a sixth title.
Leon Haslam pushed Byrne close in 2016 and was well in with a chance of clinching the trophy had it not been for a disastrous qualifying at the final round. While he’s switching teams for 2017, a lot will remain the same for Haslam as he sticks with Kawasaki. In fact, Kawasaki’s updated ZX10RR should iron out some of the technical glitches Haslam suffered mid-season, making for an even more formidable package.
World Superbike Champion (2014) Sylvain Guintoli will also return to the series after signing to ride for the Hawk Bennetts Suzuki squad on the new GSX-R1000. Already with a BSB win to his name, the Frenchman won’t be looking to make up the numbers on his return to the UK in 2017.
Joining him from WSB is Davide Giugliano, who partners Christian Iddon at Tyco BMW. The rapid and aggressive Italian is relishing the opportunity to race an inline four, which he thinks will suit his pointand-squirt style, and could be a threat if he gets to grips with the British tracks.
After impressing aboard the old Honda Fireblade in 2016, it would be foolish to write off Jason O’halloran and Dan Linfoot when looking at next year’s title fight. Armed with the new Fireblade SP2, these two could certainly step the game up next year.
James Ellison and Michael Laverty will be looking to bounce back from a difficult season as they join the new MCAMS Yamaha team. Both former championship contenders, will they flourish with a point to prove in 2017? It’s all shaping up nicely.
Shakey is back on the Panigale for 2017