Shane Byrne left the Salt Lake City race with a sixth and seventh place finish, but a closer look at his performance especially in race one reveals just what could have been. Having switched back to the conventional cable throttle instead of the ride by wire system he’d been using all season, Byrne was in impressive form all weekend.
Starting from the third row of the grid the Althea Ducati rider was in the mix early on until he suffered a monster corner entry high side on lap two, which he somehow managed to save. Although he didn’t crash he was forced to run off the track before rejoining down in 20th place.
From lap three, he began to show his real race pace and began scything his way up the leader board. By mid race he was the only man lapping as fast as leaders Carlos Checa and Max Biaggi and in the final six laps he was the fastest man on track.
A closer look at the chronological analysis of lap times revealed that Byrne lost a massive 13 seconds when he ran off the track, but at the end of the race he was only 11.243 seconds behind race winner Max Biaggi.
Byrne said: “I think there must have been a bit of oil on the track from where Smrz’s bike blew because the rear came right around on me. I thought it was going to be a massive crash but it somehow came back but I was off the track heading for the tyre wall.
“That left me with some work to do. I’ve felt good this weekend, the team and the bike are working really well and we were unlucky in qualifying not to be further up.
“I think we’ve turned a bit of a corner this weekend. The most important thing is that I need to be enjoying riding my bike and I was actually laughing to myself just how fast I was catching people at the end of the race.”
Having shown such fast pace in race one, Byrne was optimistic for race two, but lacked grip from his rear tyre and was unable to make the same impression as he did in race one finishing in seventh.