Exclusive: BSB title rivals rate each other ahead of Brands finale

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Shane ‘Shakey’ Byrne and Pocket Rocket Leon Haslam go head to head this weekend at Brands Hatch in the 2016 MCE British Superbike Championship title decider.

Leading the series by 17 points, Byrne holds the upper hand ahead of the weekend but with three races and 75 points remaining, it is all to play for. 

All Byrne needs is to finish second to Haslam three times, but we saw at Assen how the former WSB race winner is more than willing to bunch up the pack to get others involved in the championship fight.

MCN spoke to both contenders ahead of the weekend in an explosive interview… here’s what they had to say on each other’s weaknesses on track:   

Byrne: “Sometimes he rides a little beyond himself and runs a bit wide here and there and that’s certainly something that you can pick up on when you are following him. You know when you are pushing him towards his limits when you are following him as he starts to make little mistakes.

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“He says he slows the pace at the front to get other people involved, which makes perfect sense if he’s a PR man but I don’t think he has the ability to ride away from the rest of the pack. He knows if he goes 18 or 20 laps hard, chances are he’ll destroy his rear tyre and everyone will pull him back in. He’s been doing it all season and wasn’t saying it was for points earlier in the year. He can’t do a race full gas and he knows it.”

Haslam: “He doesn’t really like to mix it too much; he’s not been that strong at passing this year. I think he can be when he wants to but they are the risks that with his experience he knows not to take. For me, I’ve got nothing to lose – I’ll have a lunge, I’ll have a big pass as overtaking and being aggressive is one of my strengths but I’d say that’s one of his weaknesses. He’s very calculated, so that comes across sometimes as a little cautious on track.”

Read the full exclusive interview in today’s MCN.

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Oli Rushby

By Oli Rushby

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