The Penrith-based Be Wiser Ducati Racing Team enjoyed a superb day at Knockhill for round four of the 2016 MCE British Superbike Championship today with both Shane ‘Shakey’ Byrne and GlennIrwin putting in excellent rides during this afternoon’s Datatag Extreme Qualifying session.
Aboard the factory-backed Be Wiser Ducati Panigale R, 39-year-old Londoner Byrne posted the seventh fastest time in the first qualifying session, held in dry conditions at the Scottish venue. The local weather then intervened though and torrential rain brought proceedings to an abrupt halt, resulting in both the second Q2 and Superpole sessions being held in the wet.
However, Shakey and the team clearly had a good set up for the inclement weather conditions and having topped the leaderboard in the second Q2 session, Shakey then served up a repeat performance in the third to claim his first pole position of the season and his 43rd in total.
Team-mate Irwin fared equally well and although he looked strong in the initial dry session, he really excelled in the wet weather and at one stage looked like he’d join Byrne on the front row. Sixth in Q2, the Carrickfergus rider repeatedly went quickest in the final Superpole session before being bumped back to third by Shakey and Leon Haslam. He then got held up on his final lap resulting in him ending the session in fifth overall. Nevertheless, it puts the 26 year old in an excellent second row starting position for tomorrow’s opening 30-lap race.
Shane Byrne: “The team have done a great job once more this weekend and it’s great to get pole position for them and in front of Ernesto Marinelli, the boss of Ducati Corse. My crew chief Giovanni gave me a great bike and I was pretty happy in the wet conditions as I was in the dry too. It's difficult to find the initial setting with the bike but once we find it, it simply gets better and better and that's how the weekend has unfolded. I’d still like to have a bit better feel in the dry but we’re still competitive so that’s the main thing.”
Glenn Irwin: “It’s the first time I’ve made it into Superpole this season and to do it in front of Ernesto is great, we’ll have to get him along to more rounds! I felt I could have taken P3 in the last bit ofqualifying but I had a couple of moments and got held up slightly although I’m still very satisfied with fifth. My pace in the dry has been strong too and I always go better in the races than I do in qualifying so I’m feeling confident and am aiming for two top ten finishes tomorrow.”
Paul Bird, Team Owner: “It’s nice to have taken our first pole position with the new Ducati and both riders look strong in both the wet conditions and the dry so we’re looking forward now to two sets of good results on race day. It’s very important for us to be on the front two rows and although it’s results on race day that ultimately matter, everything is coming along nicely in our development and progress.”
Datatag Extreme Qualifying Results
1 Shane Byrne (Be Wiser Ducati)
2 Jason O’Halloran (Honda)
3 Leon Haslam (Kawasaki)
4 Peter Hickman (Kawasaki)
5 Glenn Irwin (Be Wiser Ducati)
6 John Hopkins (Yamaha)
Pictures courtesy of Jon Jessop: Shane 'Shakey' Byrne 67, and Glenn Irwin 2.