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Double Podium And Series Lead For Byrne At Silverstone

Sunday, April 10, 2016

The Be Wiser Ducati Racing Team got their 2016 MCE British Superbike Championship season up and running in fine style today at Silverstone with Shane ‘Shakey’ Byrne taking a pair of secondplace finishes to lead the title race following the opening round.

 

 

 

 

Aboard the factory-backed Be Wiser Ducati Panigale R, the 39-year-old Londoner was hoping for a good performance following a winter of development and testing on the brand new bike which the Italian factory has entrusted Paul Bird’s Penrith-based team to deliver the goods with this season.

 

With difficult weather conditions throughout the weekend, the four-time MCE BSB champion qualified for today’s opening 14-lap race in fourth place as cool temperatures and a dry track proved to be the order of the day. From the start in his first race on the bike, Byrne settled in with the leading bunch with a plan to increase the pace later in the race, which is what he did and although he couldn’t quite get on terms with eventual race winner Michael Laverty, he settled for solid points and a podium in second place, just half a second down.

 

With vital data gathered from race one, Shakey started the second race from the front row whereby it followed a similar pattern in the early stages. But as the race progressed, Byrne gradually climbed the order before challenging for the victory on the last lap. Shakey briefly took the lead with a superb move into Luffield but lost out on the drag to the line with Peter Hickman taking the narrowest of wins ahead of Byrne, who claimed his second runner-up placing of the day and in doing so, heads the championship going into round two at Oulton Park in three weeks’ time.

Ulster team-mate Glenn Irwin was making his debut in MCE BSB and was equally impressive on his first competitive rides on the Be Wiser Ducati Panigale R, achieving his and the team’s objectives of some solid points in the opening round.

 

 

 

Starting from 17th on the grid, the 26-year-old climbed the order to run as high as 13th before settling for 14th at the flag and with it, more experience gained to take into race two. The Carrickfergus rider was again on the sixth row for the second race and although he dropped back initially, the former Supersport Cup champion showed all of his famous fighting qualities to battle his way back up to 13th to claim his second points scoring finish of the day to cap a brilliant performance.

 

Shane Byrne: “It was a difficult first race as although we had a plan, you never quite know how it will pan out as lots of riders keep their cards close to their chest during testing. We know we’re not quite at the level we want to be but the whole PBM Be Wiser Ducati Racing Team is working hard to get to that level and we have to be pleased with finishing second first time out. In the second race, it was similar to the race I had with Alex Lowes in 2013 and whilst we’re perhaps trying to run before we can walk, to be leading the championship after the first round is fantastic. The bike’s brand new and I’ve a new team around me who are all working incredibly hard to get to the position we’re in. Full credit to the team and with good tracks coming up, ones that will suit us better, we’ll get stronger for sure.”

 

Glenn Irwin: “I’m pleased to get the first round out of the way and delighted to score points in both races. The first race was satisfying even though the harder tyre didn’t work as I would have liked and then in the second race, Billy McConnell crashed in front of me which dropped me back to something like 25th place. After that, I really dug deep and my pace was really strong, not far off the leaders really, so I was pleased to fight my way back up to 13th. I was a little bit aggressive but am really enjoying riding the Ducati, it’s a fantastic machine, so a big thanks to Paul Bird and the whole Be Wiser Ducati Racing Team for giving me such a great opportunity.”

 

Paul Bird: “I was confident we’d be strong this weekend and it’s great to come away with two podiums. It’s not really the ideal circuit for us with the big, long straights, but Shakey showed the potential of the bike and to be leading the championship already is terrific for all concerned. Glenn has a lot to learn and perhaps he’s trying a bit too hard, but we’re happy enough with his performances. He’s now got two races under his belt and will only get stronger, just like Shakey will. We will hopefully have some more updates for the bike for the next race, so that should make us even more competitive. Overall, I’m chuffed to bits with how the day’s gone.”

 

MCE British Superbike Championship – Race One (14 laps)

1 Michael Laverty (BMW)

2 Shane Byrne (Be Wiser Ducati)

3 Christian Iddon (BMW)

4 Luke Mossey (Kawasaki)

5 Dan Linfoot (Honda)

6 Jason O’Halloran (Honda)

14 Glenn Irwin (Be Wiser Ducati)

 

MCE British Superbike Championship – Race Two (14 laps)

1 Peter Hickman (Kawasaki)

2 Shane Byrne (Be Wiser Ducati)

3 Christian Iddon (BMW)

4 Jason O’Halloran (Honda)

5 Leon Haslam (Kawasaki)

6 Michael Laverty (BMW)

13 Glenn Irwin (Be Wiser Ducati)

 

Championship Standings (after round one)

1 Byrne 40

2 Laverty 35

3 Iddon 32

4 Hickman 25

5 O’Halloran 23

6 Mossey 19

16 Irwin 5

 

Images courtesy of Jon Jessop: Shane 'Shakey' Byrne celebrating on the podium, Glenn Irwin (2) in action.

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