Shane Byrne has played down calls that the 2016 MCE British Superbike title fight is over after rival Leon Haslam dramatically crashed out of today’s opening race.
Despite Haslam being out of the race, Byrne faced his own challenges as he struggled with the wet settings on his Panigale R leaving him to settle for points and eventually cross the line in sixth place.
“The bike was really hard to ride and it took a lot of my concentration just to stay on the thing so I didn’t get chance to look at my pit board to know that Leon was out,” he said. “The bike has been phenomenal in the dry and I felt really confident for the race when it started dry, but then the conditions changed and we just weren’t quite there. The bike felt like it had an intermediate tyre in, absolutely zero dig until way too late in the corner. It’s probably the most I’ve ever had to concentrate.”
The result sees Byrne sit 27 points ahead of Haslam in the title chase, meaning he could mathematically clinch the title in the first of tomorrow’s two races, but the four-time champion says he knows all too well he can’t rest on his laurels.
“You’ve never ever got a hand on the BSB title trophy, I can assure you! I’ve been here before and it’s not over until it’s over. When I saw Leon was out, I was just trying my hardest to stay on the bike and believe me it wasn’t easy. I was watching guys ride away from me knowing I couldn’t do it as I was going to crash! I nearly got flicked out of the seat a few times and the rear came around on me into a couple of corners so I decided to just ride the thing back and take the points.
“We’ll take what we’ve learned from today to make a better package tomorrow.”
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