Shane Byrne: “No Ducati is sad for the fans”

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Reigning British Superbike Champion Shane Byrne says the championship will be missing an important element without the presence of Ducati in 2009.

Byrne took his second BSB title this season and his second for Ducati, after first winning the crown back in 2004 with Paul Bird’s MonsterMob team.

But next season there will not be a competitive team on the booming V-twins in BSB for the first time since 1995.

“It’s a sad thing for British fans,” Byrne told MCN. “The bikes are totally different to hear and to look at and add a different dimension to the series.

“There are always those who are die-hard Ducati fans and those that are against them and think they’re a bunch of cheating Italian bastards.

“There is no doubt the competition between the revvy fours and the punchy twins is a big part of Superbike racing these days.”

News of Ducati’s absence in BSB comes after the Italian manufacturer enjoyed a dominant year in Britain. Byrne’s BSB title win was backed-up by Leon Camier and Michael Rutter finishing fifth and sixth respectively with four race wins between them, and John Laverty’s dominance of the Daily Star Cup.

Byrne also referred to this season’s controversy over changeable weight limits. All V-twins were hit with a 10kg minimum weight increase midway through the 2008 campaign when he looked to be running away with the title.

“The performance advantage debate between fours and twins is a funny old thing,” he added. “We didn’t have any unfair advantage this season.

“But maybe Jonathan Palmer will be happy now because there is no arguing over anyone having an advantage in BSB.”

British fans will still be able to see Ducati superbikes racing in ’09, with one of them piloted by Byrne at the British round of the World Superbike Championship at Donington Park on June 28.

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Rob Hull

By Rob Hull