WSB Qatar: Byrne Backs up Words with Strong 6th

1 of 1

British champion Shane Byrne lived up to his confident pledge to bounce back in the second round of the World Superbike series by scoring a strong sixth place in the opening leg on the Losail circuit in Qatar.

Byrne suffered two embarrassing crashes in the first round in Australia after dominating winter testing on his Sterilgarda Ducati, but qualified for the second row at Losail and dived into the first corner in seventh place.

He then remained at the head of a battle for sixth, at times running just ahead of fellow Brits Tom Sykes (Yamaha R1) and Jonathan Rea (Ten Kate Honda). Byrne held on to claim his first morale-boosting points of the championship by holding off Sykes by less than a second.

Sykes in turn kept Ryuichi Kiyonari (Ten Kate Honda) in eighth place. Leon Haslam qualified only 18th fastest and started from the fifth row, but a tough ride on his Stiggy Honda gave him 11th place, a performance that allowed him to retain third place in the points table.

Rea came off worst in the last-lap skirmishing, finishing a frustrating 12th.
Tommy Hill was 15th on his Altea Honda.

Overall this was a fighting performance from the Brit-pack. Byrne doesn’t look like the championship contender some observers were claiming him to be after his pre-season testing performances, but this was never a realistic expectation from a private team again st ranks of factory bikes.

Mike Nicks

By Mike Nicks