SHAKEY: ‘I’M NO QUITTER – IT HURT ME TO PULL IN’
Coming off the back of four consecutive victories, Thruxton should have been a dream weekend for reigning champ Shane ‘Shakey’ Byrne.
The Hampshire circuit had been where Byrne felt the Be Wiser Ducati was at its best in the 2016 season and even his main series rival, Leon Haslam, told MCN he believed Byrne had the Thruxton double in the bag before he’d even arrived. But the five-time British Champion lacked outright pace.
The Be Wiser Ducati team turned his Panigale upside down, eventually swapping out all new-for-2017 parts with the exception of the exhaust in order to find the feeling he’d enjoyed 12 months ago, but it wasn’t meant to be.
After qualifying fifth, he could only manage fourth in the opening race and while it seemed the team had made a breakthrough for race two as he took the early lead, he retired with the same tyre-wear issues that hampered many of his rivals last year.
“This was supposed to be one of our best tracks,” explained a baffled Byrne after the race. “I do not know why it hasn’t worked. I came here thinking I could win six on the bounce! It would have been perfect, but sometimes you expect things and they don’t come.
“I don’t think I’ve ever had such a bad weekend. I’m not a quitter, it hurt to pull in from that second race. The tyre was bouncing up and down and I couldn’t close the throttle going into a corner as the bike was just coming around on me, I couldn’t risk it. I’ve seen what happened to Jonathan Rea and Michael van der Mark with tyres in WSB this year. I tried to keep going but I thought ‘we’re two rounds away from the Showdown, the last thing I want is a 180mph blowout’.
“That being said, you have to take on the lows to enjoy the highs and with Donington, the Brands Indy crash and now this, hopefully that’s my share of lows out of the way this season!”