Dutch Disappointment For Byrne And Easton

Monday, September 21, 2015

The Penrith-based Paul Bird Motorsport team along with rider Shane 'Shakey' Byrne saw their 2015 MCE Insurance British Superbike Championship challenge suffer a minor setback this weekend when the four-time champion could only manage fourth and fifth place finishes at the Assen circuit in Holland.

And with arch-rival Josh Brookes taking both race wins at the opening round of 'The Showdown', the Sittingbourne rider saw a two-point deficit to the Australian grow to 28 points with five races remaining in the series.


Having qualified the PBM Kawasaki ZX-10R in fifth place for the opening 18-lap race, reigning champion Byrne made a good start and immediately slotted into third behind main rivals Brookes and James Ellison. However, as the race wore on, the 37-year old was unable to match their pace and slipped back into the clutches of Michael Laverty and John Hopkins.

Back down to fifth at one stage, Byrne regrouped and looked like he'd take the final podium spot with a last lap manoeuvre on Laverty but he ran wide at the final chicane and had to settle for fourth, losing ground to race winner Brookes in the title race.


The second race saw a number of delays due to the weather and when it finally got underway, it was cut to 15 laps. With conditions extremely tricky in the early stages, Byrne found himself shuffled back to seventh by lap four and although he managed to climb back up to fifth in the final few laps, he was unable to make it onto the podium.


Team-mate Stuart Easton, meanwhile, contested the practice and qualifying sessions, but withdrew from the races with his injured leg and knee too painful to withstand the rigours of the two races. The Hawick rider has now slipped back to eighth overall, three points behind Richard Cooper in the battle for the BSB Rider's Cup.


Shane Byrne: "The weekend has been far from perfect, but at least we have a couple of points scoring rides under our belts despite our problems. We came to Assen in a positive frame of mind, but the constantly changing conditions over the weekend caused us a headache but I'm not making excuses. Fair play to Josh, he rode brilliantly and we now need to have a sit down and regroup so we are ready for Silverstone.”

Stuart Easton: "It was always going to be a long shot after hurting my knee again two weeks ago at Oulton Park but we had to give it a go. It didn't work out so now my focus is trying to get more movement and reduce the swelling so we can be competitive at Silverstone in two weeks time.”

Paul Bird, Team Owner: "It's been a tough weekend for sure, what with Stuart having to sit both races out and Shakey not managing a podium but nothing has been decided yet. Shakey came away from Assen last year, having scored 25 points and this year he scored 24, yet he was still champion so we've not given up yet. Silverstone traditionally suits our bike so we'll come back fighting in a fortnight."

MCE British Superbike Championship Race One (18 laps)

1 Josh Brookes (Yamaha)

2 James Ellison (Kawasaki)

3 Michael Laverty (BMW)

4 Shane Byrne (PBM Kawasaki)

5 John Hopkins (Ducati)

6 Richard Cooper (BMW)

MCE British Superbike Championship Race Two (15 laps)

1 Josh Brookes (Yamaha)

2 James Ellison (Kawasaki)

3 Luke Mossey (Kawasaki)

4 Richard Cooper (BMW)

5 Shane Byrne (PBM Kawasaki)

6 Christian Iddon (Suzuki)

Championship Positions (after ten rounds)

1 Brookes 603pts

2 Byrne 575

3 Ellison 562

4 Laverty 523

5 Bridewell 515

6 Linfoot 509

8 Easton 139

Image courtesy of Jon Jessop Photography: Shane Byrne in action

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