Dutch Disappointment For Be Wiser DucatiSat, 30/09/2017
The Be Wiser Ducati Racing Team will have it all to do at Assen tomorrow following a disappointing day at the Dutch circuit today which saw both Shane Byrne and Glenn Irwin qualifying in 16th and 21st respectively for the opening race of round eleven of the 2017 MCE British Superbike Championship.
Rain conditions saw Irwin eliminated from the first part of the Datatag Extreme Qualifying session and Byrne then fell from the factory-backed Be Wiser Ducati Panigale R twice in quick succession during Q2.
The first crash occurred at the fast Duikersloot corner but the reigning champion managed to remount and get back to the pits only to have a low-speed fall at de Strubben. He slowly slipped back down the leaderboard and will have to start tomorrow’s opening 18-lap race from the sixth row.
The situation was made worse with main title rival Leon Haslam seizing his opportunity to qualify in second for a front row start although, as well as Byrne, the four other Showdown contenders qualified outside the top ten.
Up until this afternoon, the weekend had gone well for five-times champion Byrne with dry weather yesterday seeing the Sittingbourne-based Londoner comfortably quickest. Indeed, a time of 1m36.136s put him over three quarters of a second inside the lap record and over half a second clear of second placed Haslam and despite his setback, Byrne will be fit to race and with the weather predicted to be dry, he’ll be hoping to get back to winning ways.
Meanwhile, Ulsterman Irwin struggled in the wet conditions which he normally excels in. Having posted the 15th quickest time in the dry of yesterday, fifth quickest in this morning’s damp practice session looked like it would stand him in good stead during qualifying. However, the heavier rain worked against the 27 year old from Carrickfergus and he’ll line up one row further behind Byrne.
Shane Byrne: “Obviously today’s been a big disappointment, especially after such a good run yesterday and I thought we’d be OK in the wet. But then I got a couple of nasty surprises with two crashes in the space of a few minutes during Q2 which did me no favours at all. I’m a bit battered and my left hand is a bit sore but I’ll live and we’ll try to right the wrongs in the two races tomorrow. It’s supposed to be dry and there are plenty of passing places here at Assen so I’m not too worried.”
Glenn Irwin: “It wasn’t a good qualifying session for me and the heavier rain caught us out. I felt good in the dry and feel like we’re in the ball park whilst the bike worked really well in this morning’s damp session and I felt strong. Something didn’t quite feel right in qualifying though and we went the wrong way with set up so I struggled. I was trying to get a tow and lost a bit of heat in the tyres as well and it was pretty much a session to forget. Tomorrowlooks dry though and, like I say, I think we should be there or thereabouts come the two races.”
Phil Borley: “It wasn’t our day today and things have gone against us so we’ve a lot of work to do tomorrow, certainly in the first race at least. Shakey was flying on Friday in the dry which should stand us in good stead if Sunday, as forecast, is dry so as long as he’s feeling OK, I think we’ll have two strong races. The crashes have certainly knocked him about though and coming from 16th on the grid won’t be easy but I’m sure he can put together two good races. As Glenn says, the heavy rain in qualifying caught him out which was a shame as he’d gone really well in the damp. He’s not a million miles away in the dry but he too will have to dig deep in the first race, especially the first few laps, to get a better starting position for race two.”
1 James Ellison (Yamaha) 1m54.027s
2 Leon Haslam (Kawasaki) 1m54.109s
3 Christian Iddon (BMW) 1m54.188s
4 Dan Linfoot (Honda) 1m54.698s
5 Bradley Ray (Suzuki) 1m55.240s
6 John Hopkins (Ducati) 1m55.371s
16 Shane Byrne (Be Wiser Ducati) 1m57.922s
21 Glenn Irwin (Be Wiser Ducati) 2m01.503s