Shane Byrne to test Paul Bird’s MotoGP bike at Catalunya

Published: 02 June 2012

Shane Byrne will test the Paul Bird Motorsport Aprilia ART machine at Monday’s MotoGP test at the Catalunya circuit near Barcelona.

The British Superbike title contender will offer his thoughts on the bike, with James Ellison struggling with a severe chatter issue again.

The Cumbrian was 20th fastest on the opening day yesterday (Friday) and was over two seconds slower than Randy de Puniet, who was the quickest ART rider in opening practice.

The PBM team want a second opinion from Byrne to try and get to the bottom of the issue that has plagued Ellison since he returned to the MotoGP paddock for the first time since 2006.

Bird’s Technical Director Phil Borley told MCN in Catalunya this morning: “The plan is to let Shane have a ride on Monday. We decided to do the test here after the problems we had in Estoril and this is an ideal opportunity to get Shane on the bike with a window in the British championship. I’m sure he is quite interested in seeing what the bike is like but we are just interested in getting his feedback and getting hopefully him to confirm some of the problems James has been having . Then we can try and move forward with the bike. Paul was quite keen for Shane to have a try on the bike but we can only run one rider at a time, so we have yet to work out a plan who will ride when. We might have one in the morning and one in the afternoon.”

Borley said the test was nothing more than an opportunity to get Byrne’s comments on the ART package and Ellison will continue to race the bike for the rest of the 2012 world championship campaign.

He said: “We want James to ride the bike for the rest of the season but we need to solve the problems he is having so he is competitive in the dry."

Bird had threatened to drop Ellison for the recent French Grand Prix at Le Mans and draft in his Kawasaki BSB rider Byrne as replacement.

Ellison kept his place and delivered a brilliant 11th place finish in a rain-hit race to finish top CRT rider.

The last time Byrne rode in MotoGP was back in 2005 when he rode the Team Roberts KTM until they withdrew and then replaced injured Troy Bayliss on the Camel Honda in Sepang and Qatar