HASLAM OUT OF ACTION IN SCOTLAND
Reigning champ fails to fully capitalise on Haslam’s absence
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