Bennetts British Superbike Champion Shane Byrne shrugged off a small crash to post competitive times on his first day of testing in 2018.
The Be Wiser Ducati squad joined numerous other teams for the second day of testing at the Cartagena circuit in Spain, with the reigning champion completing around 25 laps alongside team-mate Glenn Irwin, who is suffering from food poisoning.
Having overshot his braking marker, Byrne tucked the front at a slow speed in the day’s second 20-minute session with more damage sustained to the 41-year-old’s leathers than his Ducati Panigale R.
With Ducati’s V-Twin Panigale in its final year of racing, there are limited new parts for Byrne to test, but he does have a new set of Ohlins forks to try during their seven days on track over the next two weeks.
“It was a good first day back on the bike,” he told MCN at the track. “We had a small crash which was frustrating but I guess you have to get the first of the year out of the way at some point.
“We haven’t done many laps, which from a physical point of view bodes well as we’ve got another day here and then another two tests. It’s so easy to blow your doors off on the first day doing a load of laps and then having no energy – you’ve got to remember you’ve been off a bike all winter!
“My first flying lap was faster than I’ve ever been around this track on the Ducati and that might sound strange on day one, but back in 2016 the Ducati was a real handful here and I really struggled.
“While we don’t have anything major to test, it’s important to blow out the cobwebs, get back up to speed and getting on top of the bike so I’m leading it and it’s not leading me when we roll up to Donington for the first round.
“I made a lot of mistakes last season and I’d like to think I’m wise enough to learn from those mistakes and I need to prove that by getting through this test programme, getting a load of laps done and enjoying it. I lost my way with the fun part of racing in the middle of last season and it wasn’t until Brands Hatch I gave myself a kick up the arse and told myself to go out and enjoy it – and I’ve enjoyed today so hopefully that’s a good sign.”