Reign­ing champ fails to fully cap­i­talise on Haslam’s ab­sence

Motorcycle News (UK) - - This Week - By Oli Rushby BSB RE­PORTER

Shane Byrne was un­able to take as much ground out of ri­val Leon Haslam’s se­ries lead as he’d have liked this week­end as he strug­gled to find a set­ting with the Be­wiser Du­cati to suit the per­nick­ety Knock­hill cir­cuit.

With Haslam out af­ter his free prac­tice crash, the week­end pro­vided Byrne with the ideal op­por­tu­nity to make up for ground he lost by miss­ing round one. And while he did haul him­self into Show­down con­tention and earn him­self a cou­ple of podium cred­its, two third places were not what he was look­ing for.

“My plan ev­ery week­end is to win, but some­times you have to re­alise that’s not al­ways go­ing to hap­pen,” a prag­matic Byrne told MCN af­ter the sec­ond race. “As much as I want to and as much as I try to, it can’t al­ways hap­pen in mo­tor­cy­cle rac­ing.

“You could say two thirds is not what I came here for and that’s true, but what I did come here for was to get my­self into the Show­down and pick up some podium cred­its which I’ve done.”

With both Byrne and Haslam hav­ing now missed a week­end, that evens things up in their ti­tle bat­tle but Byrne isn’t con­vinced, given the Du­cati’s ap­par­ent dis­lik­ing of Knock­hill.

“Leon hav­ing free rein at Don­ing­ton Park with­out me is not the same as me hav­ing free rein at Knock­hill with­out him! This isn’t the best cir­cuit for me, it showed last year and it’s shown again this year.

“The bike doesn’t like the re­ally fast changes of di­rec­tion here. You’re al­ways go­ing from one side to the other re­ally quickly and this bike is so rigid, if it doesn’t have grip it just ties it­self in knots. The bike was just spin­ning on top of the tar­mac in the first race and we tried to com­pen­sate for that with a bit of pre-load in the sec­ond, but it just sat down and spun. We couldn’t get the thing to full throt­tle any­where.”

How­ever, Byrne can take so­lace hav­ing taken two thirds on what he calls one of the two worst tracks for the Pani­gale R.

“I said last year, Brands Indy and Knock­hill would be my two worst cir­cuits and it’s been the same this year. I never sweat or suf­fer like I have in these two races, but there wasn’t another ounce in me that I could give. Some­times you win races and don’t break a sweat, but to­day I feel like I’ve been in the shower and then got off the bike!”

‘My plan is al­ways to win, but as much as I want to and try to, it can’t al­ways hap­pen’ SHANE BYRNE

Haslam’s hel­met did its job well

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