HASLAM, SHAKEY & BROOKES SPEAK OUT
Having finished first or second in the championship every year since 2012, Shane Byrne has been in a position similar to this many times before. Whether he’s been on top or chasing, he knows what it takes to win a title and ahead of this weekend, he’s remaining extremely realistic. “I’m not stupid,” he says. “I know I’m not in the position I need to be in, but I’m not going to sit here and tell you all the ifs and buts that other riders come out with. Everyone can make excuses and make their case seem better than it is, but the reality is I’m 33 points behind Leon and it’s not good enough. “I know that if I win three races this weekend and he finishes all three I’m not going to pull 33 points back. I can’t see him going there and trying desperately to beat us, if he’s smart enough he’ll ride to finish where he needs to finish to win the title. “In some ways that means the pressure is all off now. All I need to do is try to enjoy riding the Ducati and try to win three races and if something happens to Leon, then all of a sudden it’s all to play for. If it goes my way, then great, if not I might have to stick around for another two or three years.”
It’s not quite clear where and why it’s gone wrong for Byrne this year, seven DNFS haven’t helped, but with Haslam 33 points ahead of him also with seven DNFS to his name, that’s no excuse.
“All sorts of things have gone wrong this year but there’s no point in making excuses, the reality is we are where we are. We’ve had to push much harder all year and that’s resulted in me falling down a couple of times, a couple of mechanicals – it’s taken its toll. I think I’ve finished fewer races this year than any other year in my career, and that’s why we are in this position.
“At the end of the day, the person who gets the job done over the course of the year is the person who should be champion. Leon has had an upand-down year like me, but in the Showdown things have really worked for him. He’s never won a championship other than on a scooter and this is his best shot at getting one done, so it’ll be interesting to see how it plays out.”