Shane Byrne’s weekend couldn’t have got of to a better start at Thruxton after he obliterated the outright lap record in free practice aboard the Be Wiser Ducati Panigale.
The four-time British Champion was fast out of the blocks to top both sessions on the opening day at the Hampshire circuit, clocking a time of 1’14.390 in Free Practice 2 to dominate the field by almost a second.
After finding Ducati’s Panigale R a handful initially at some circuits, the booming V-Twin seems to be at home on the fast, flowing Thruxton circuit, enabling Byrne to ride the bike how he wants as he looks to add to his tally of three wins so far this year.
“We were fast in the last sector at Snetterton and that’s the fastest sector, so I had a feeling the Ducati would work really well here but I never like to assume,” he told MCN. “I’ve said before that Ducati is a funny thing as when I turn up at a track it’s almost like it doesn’t want to go around at all and it takes a bit of work to get it into a place where it works, but here as soon as I rolled out of the pits today I was surprised with how well it works. When this bike is in the right window it goads you to go faster, almost like it’s screaming ‘come on you pussy, let’s have it!’
“I did two laps at the end of the session where I let it goad me and really went for it and wasn’t too careful on the tyres, but for the rest of the day we have been working on race pace and consistency and that’s going OK.”
As the only rider able to consistently lap quickly on the softer tyre while also conserving his rubber, Byrne looks set to be the man to beat ahead of qualifying tomorrow and Sunday's two races.
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