Shane Byrne kicked off his Bennetts British Superbike title defence with the quickest time on the third day of action at Cartagena to lap within half a second of Luke Mossey’s circuit best lap.
The reigning and six-time champion was quick from the off at the Spanish track, where he’d struggled significantly when he first tested the Panigale in 2016. Lapping 1.9 seconds quicker than he did three years ago, Byrne and the PBM team have already packed up and left the circuit to travel to Monteblanco for their second of three pre-season tests. His time of 1’32.7 placed him 0.7 seconds faster than his closest rivals after two days on track.
Rookie Gino Rea was a surprise second on the unofficial timesheets as he continues to familiarise himself with the OMG Racing Suzuki and a 1000cc British Superbike machine.
Michael Laverty matched Rea’s time of 1’33.4 as he returns to Tyco BMW for 2018, with Jake Dixon fourth quickest as he evaluates a number of new components for the RAF Regular and Reserves team.
Josh Brookes, who says he feels his transition to the McAMS Yamaha team for 2018 has been seamless, was fifth quickest with a time of 1’34.1 – but this was matched by the second Be Wiser Ducati of Glenn Irwin, who has been struggling with food poisoning. MotoRapido Ducati’s Taylor Mackenzie also posted a 1’34.1 after shrugging off a small crash this morning.
Danny Buchan – who says he’s working with a new ethos in 2018 – was another rider in the 1'34 second bracket for FS-3 Racing Kawasaki, while rookie Tarran Mackenzie rounded out the top ten to continue an impressive debut with the McAMS Yamaha team.
Tommy Bridewell completed the timesheets after missing two sessions on track with an ECU hardware issue on his Movuno.com Halsall Suzuki.
All remaining teams opted not to make their times public, including Smiths Racing BMW who were out for their first day on track with Peter Hickman and Sylvain Barrier.
Cartagena Day 3
All times are unofficial and provided by teams
1. Shane Byrne (Be Wiser Ducati) 1m:32.7s
2. Gino Rea (OMG Racing Suzuki) 1m:33.4s
= Michael Laverty (Tyco BMW) 1m:33.4s
4. Jake Dixon (RAF Regular & Reserves Kawasaki) 1m:33.6s
5. Josh Brookes (McAMS Yamaha) 1m:34.1s
= Glenn Irwin (Be Wiser Ducati) 1m:34.1s
= Christian Iddon (Tyco BMW) 1m:34.1s
= Taylor Mackenzie (Moto Rapido Ducati) 1m:34.1s
9. Danny Buchan (FS-3 Racing Kawasaki) 1m:34s (no specific time provided)
10. Tarran Mackenzie (McAMS Yamaha) 1m:34.5s
11. Tommy Bridewell (Movuno.com Halsall Racing Suzuki) 1m:35.0s