BSB: Shakey back on top
MCE British Superbikes might have been all about the young guns in recent rounds, but five-time title winner Shane Byrne issued a stark warning to the youngsters snapping at his heels with an immaculate performance at Snetterton.
The Bewiser PBM Ducati man topped every session before going on to take pole with the quickest ever two-wheeled lap of the Norfolk circuit (1m 46.024s) and then decimating his rivals in Sunday’s two races as well as clinching a new lap record.
“I’m chuffed to bits for the fast young riders coming through and you have to think they’re only going to get stronger,” Byrne told MCN after the second race. “But at the same time that doesn’t mean the rest of us are getting any weaker! Just this weekend I’ve made another little step in something I do in my preparation for races and I’m always looking for improvements like that.
“Don’t ever think for one moment that I’m going to stand still, because I’m not.”
Byrne is hoping his Snetterton result will mark the end to what has been an up and down period for the Be Wiser Ducati team, which started in the worst possible way with Byrne taking zero points from three of the first four races after missing Donington with concussion and crashing out at Brands Indy.
“It feels like my season has finally started,” Byrne laughed. “It seems weird to be saying that at round five but this is only our second and
third win of the year! It’s not as though our speed hasn’t been there, it’s been there at most rounds and nothing has particularly gone wrong, but it hasn’t gone right either!
“We could have won at Donington and Brands Indy, at Oulton we did. Knockhill wasn’t great, I gave everything I could but I just wasn’t in the race for the win and I’m not very good at accepting that. Two podiums so far was not enough so to come here and rectify that was important.”
Snetterton, Brands GP and Thruxton were three rounds where Byrne made key ground on Leon Haslam last year and with neither of his JG Speedfit Kawasaki rivals enjoying a strong weekend he now sits just seven points off Luke Mossey’s championship lead.
“I said before we came here that the next three rounds should be good for us, but just because they should be good doesn’t mean they will be. We’ve still got to work bloody hard to maximise our potential and this weekend I couldn’t have done any better. I’ve no doubt both Leon and Luke are going to come back strong, especially next time out at Brands where they have both been strong before.”
While Byrne might not hold the series lead, he has moved ahead in the podium points which will be critical for when the three-round Showdown kicks off at Oulton Park later this year. He now sits on 20 points, one ahead of Haslam and three ahead of Mossey.
“After my start to the year, all I was bothered about in the first four rounds was getting myself into the top six and making sure we stayed there. Now we’ve done that I can start thinking about podium credits for the championship and we couldn’t have started that in a better way this weekend.”
‘Don’t ever think for one moment that I’m going to stand still – I’m not’ SHANE BYRNE
The Supersport race result was hit by a protest from third-placed Keith Farmer’s Appleyard Macadam team who alleged Andrew Irwin passed under yellow flags. With the race won by the non-points scoring Moto2 of Alastair Seeley, a hearing will decide who gets the 25 points.
Byrne’s back after a shakey start to 2017