Byrne makes Aprilia MotoGP debut

Published: 25 November 2003

Shane Byrne made his debut for the Aprilia MotoGP team on the second day of a three-day test shared with the Ducati team at Jerez in Spain.

The 26-year-old was forced to sit out the first day due to wet conditions, but was able to put in his first MotoGP laps on Tuesday, November 25. Despite a minor crash, the reigning British Superbike champion completed a number of laps on his own before spending a session following test rider Marcelino Lucchi.

Despite his tumble, Byrne was impressed with the bike:

" It’s incredible! Very fast. Everything is different to last year’s superbike and I’ve got to change my style and learn how to ride an Aprilia. There’s lots of room for me to improve but I am confident in Aprilia and that the work carried out so far by Lucchi will benefit me. "

On the third and final day of the test on Wednesday, November 26, Byrne completed 63 laps with a best time of 1:44.7. This time would have qualified him for the 2003 Spanish GP, albeit in 20th place.

The Ducati team was also positive after the test. Working on new components for the 2004 Desmosedici race bikes, Loris Capirossi completed 46 laps, with a best time of 1:42.8. Troy Bayliss managed 52 laps, recording a time of 1:43.1. Both riders were using a race set-up for their updated 2003 machines to test new Michelin front tyres on the last day.

Can Capirossi and Bayliss benefit from world champion Rossi’s switch to Yamaha? How will rookie Shane Byrne perform? Post your thoughts on the MotoGP discussion board by following the link on the right.