Five time MCE British Superbike Champion Shane Byrne has said missing the opening races of the 2017 season left him more determined than he was ahead of the season opener two weeks ago.
And the Be Wiser Ducati rider showed he means business with a strong opening performance in Friday’s test session ahead of the second round’s normal schedule getting underway on the 1.2 mile Indy circuit tomorrow.
Byrne was 0.137sec quicker than second placed Christian Iddon after 75 minutes on track and just 0.2 seconds off his own circuit lap record set on a close to WSB-spec HM Plant Honda in 2011.
“These little hurdles or obstacles do one of two things to people,” Byrne told MCN at the track. “They either get you down in the dumps as you mull over what you’re going to do about the situation or they grab you by the balls and make you think ‘right, let’s do this!’. I got out to Spain, I tried my goolies off and came back fitter, stronger lighter, more focused and determined than I was at round one.
“To be P1 today is really good, we’re consistent too. It’s very early days and this isn’t even FP1, it’s a test session. To start free practice so fast, just 0.2 off the outright lap record after putting in some new tyres at the end shows it’s going to be a quick weekend.”
It was a busy session for the Be Wiser PBM team as Byrne back-to-back tested the swinging arm he’d used for most of last season with a new offering from the Bologna factory’s racing department currently used by Chaz Davies and Marco Melandri in World Superbikes.
“There are positives and negatives to the new swing arm, but it’s like anything. This is a race bike. It’s not a street bike turned into a race bike, this is a race bike from the word go from the factory and they turn it into a road bike for sale. A team of engineers in Italy spend countless hours to make the parts perfect, so you don’t just find two tenths a lap by bolting on a new part, but it’s all the little things that help.”
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