BSB: Zero to hero for Byrne at Knockhill

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Shane Byrne went from zero to hero in the fourth round of the 2016 MCE British Superbike championship after bouncing back from a race one crash to take his second victory with Ducati’s Panigale.

While able to run fast lap times in all conditions throughout the weekend, Byrne struggled with a lack of front-end feel in two particular corners of the 1.3 mile Knockhill circuit. After a crash in morning warm-up, his Be Wiser Ducati team made a number of changes in attempt to improve the four-time champion’s missing feeling but ended up going the wrong way.

After another shocking start from pole position, Byrne uncharacteristically crashed out of the race to take his first non-score of the season.

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“We made a big change to the bike for the race to try and help with the problems we’ve been having over the weekend and it felt really different,” Byrne told MCN. “It’s a shame as we’ve some new parts for the clutch here and on Friday I did my best ever start on the bike! After another good practice start on Saturday I felt we could get off the line OK but in the race I released the clutch and bogged the engine so that turned into a disaster.

“The feeling on the front tyre was very different with the changes to the bike and as I tried to settle into a rhythm I went into the hairpin and crashed. It’s not like me to crash once in a weekend let alone twice! The guys have checked the data and my braking, fork level, line and everything was identical to the lap before so there was no reason for the crash. I’m not going to put my hands up and say I made a mistake when I’m not sure I did, those ones are always very difficult to swallow.”

With Ducati’s World Superbike Project Director, Ernesto Marinelli looking on from the PBM garage, it was crucial for Shakey to turn things around for race two. As the heavens opened, he knew he’d be in with a shot having taken pole position in similar conditions on Saturday. Starting 11th on the grid, he picked off the pack to make his way to the front and take his 70th British Superbike victory.

“To win the second race was hugely important with Ernesto here! It’s been good to have him around so he can see how we work, what we do and how we all operate and overall, with pole and a win, it’s been a good weekend.  We’ll now be getting even more upgrades for Snetterton than I had first anticipated!”

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Oli Rushby

By Oli Rushby

Former sports reporter covering British Superbikes, World Superbikes and road racing