Byrne fastest on return to BSB at Almeria

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Shane Byrne has topped the opening day of the first official MCE British Superbike Championship test of 2014, with the Rapid Solicitors Kawasaki rider lucky to avoid gusting winds that caused teammate Stuart Easton to end his day in the gravel.

The triple champion was making his return to a superbike for only the second time since the season finale at Brands Hatch, and admitted that the PBM team’s testing and development schedule will only get into full swing on days two and three of the test.

“We weren’t woking on anything new on the bike today. We were really fortunate to get out on the bike at the end of November, and we got to try the new seventeen inch wheels then and gave the team plenty to work on over the winter, and plenty of time to develop. All of the changes we’ve got to try, we’ve yet to try, because today is just about blowing out those cobwebs and getting back up to speed.”

“We’ve got a lot to try, hopefully and the next day, but for today it was all about blowing out the cobwebs. A lot of the guys here have already had two or three days testing, and they’re all on the money so we had a little bit of catch-up to play.”

Easton, returning to superbikes as the reigning British Supersport champion, was unfortunate to get caught out with the wind, with the diminutive Scotsman walking away from the accident.

“I’m feeling fine, just a bit disappointed with the wind and the crash. In the morning I made good progress, just getting back on the bike and back into riding the thing. After dinner, I just got caught out with a gust of wind and went up the road, and that was the end of my day. Hopefully tomorrow we can start from where we were at lunchtime and just move on with the development.”

Testing continues tomorrow and Thursday at Spain’s Almeria circuit, before returning to the UK with a Donington Park test on April 1st and Snetterton on the 8th and 9th. Both tests are open to the public.

1 Shane Byrne  1:37.544    23 laps
2 Josh Elliot  1:38.973  1.429 6 laps
3 James Ellison  1:39.323  1.779 15 laps
4 Stuart Easton  1:39.494  1.950 16 laps
5 Dan Linfoot  1:39.515  1.971 26 laps
6 Chris Walker  1:39.725  2.181 6 laps
7 Martin Jessop  1:40.070  2.526 15 laps
8 Lee Jackson  1:40.131  2.587 33 laps
9 Howie Mainwaring 1:40.313  2.769 13 laps
10 Jordan Simpkin 1:40.627  4.083 21 laps

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Simon Patterson

By Simon Patterson

MotoGP and road racing reporter, photographer, videographer