BSB: Byrne admits concern ahead of opening round

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Reigning MCE British Superbike Champion Shane Byrne has admitted he is concerned with how little track time he’s had ahead of this weekend’s opening round at Donington Park.

Byrne and his Be Wiser PBM Ducati team last tested at Portimao and Jerez in January but were unable to get back out ahead of the season’s start as they awaited the arrival of a new swingarm and exhaust from Italy. 

This left last Wednesday’s official test day as the only track time Byrne would get with his updated Panigale R ahead of the opening round, but as the one-day event was a complete washout Byrne’s track time was limited. 

“I’d be lying to you if I said I’m heading into the season brimming with confidence,” Byrne told MCN as he tried to warm up after a cold day on track.


“Testing is really important as it’s crucial to be sharp and on top of the job at the start of the season. Unfortunately, no matter what you do training wise, how good a trainer you employ and how rigorously you stick to your plan there is no substitute for actually riding a superbike.

“Physically I’ll be able to ride for sure, but you need time on the bike for your body to be able to feel those kind of stresses for it to become like second nature again. There were times today when even though we were going pathetically slow, I felt like I was going 1000mph! That’s the edge that you lose if you don’t ride all the time and after not riding for two months I feel I’ve had another winter break!”

However, while Byrne can’t hide his concern, as a five-time British Champion he’s not ruling himself out of victory this weekend. 

“I’m not telling you I’m not going to be fighting for wins this weekend, hopefully I will be, but it might be that little bit harder with me not being as sharp as I’d like. At this stage I honestly don’t know where I’ll be.”  

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Oli Rushby

By Oli Rushby

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