Front Row At Brands For ByrneSat, 14/04/2018
The Be Wiser Ducati team endured mixed fortunes in Datatag Qualifying for round two of the Bennetts British Superbike Championship at Brands Hatch today with reigning champion Shane ‘Shakey’ Byrne taking a fine second place but team-mate Glenn Irwin finishing down in 12th.
Having placed first and third overall on their factory-backed Be Wiser Ducati Panigales across the three free practice sessions, which saw a mixture of conditions, both riders were in confident mood ahead of this afternoon’s qualifying session, which saw dry weather all around the 1.2-mile Kent circuit. And it couldn’t have started any better for the duo as they placed first and second in Q1 with six times champion Byrne from nearby Sittingbourne the quicker of the two.
Moving into the 12-minute session for Q2, Byrne soon signalled his intentions with a lap of 45.102s which put him top of the pile, just ahead of rival Leon Haslam where he stayed going into Q3. Sadly for Carrickfergus rider Irwin, he didn’t make the third and final qualifying session, ending up in 12th place on the grid meaning a row four start for tomorrow’s opening race.
Heading into Q3, which was only eight minutes in duration, Shakey was able to record his fastest lap of the weekend so far, 45.094s, but he had to settle for second place and the middle of the front row of the grid behind Bradley Ray, double winner at the opening round at Donington Park two weeks ago.
Shane Byrne: “It was a bit frustrating and I’m gutted not to have done a sub-45 second lap but a lot of riders were seemingly looking for a tow and whilst my first effort was solid enough, on my second flier I got held up by a lot of traffic. Everyone’s doing their own thing but if riders are cruising round in the middle of the track looking backwards all the time, it’s not clever. On a positive note, the bike’s working great and the team have done a fantastic job again and we got a front row position which is what we always want coming into a weekend. Our race pace is very strong and I’m feeling confident, so I’ll aim for a good start tomorrow and then see what happens but I’m expecting a busy and interesting race.”
Glenn Irwin: “To be perfectly honest, I’m gutted with 12th place as I don’t feel it’s anywhere near where I should be. Our pace has been excellent all weekend, as I again showed in Q1, but I had a small technical issue in Q2 and got caught out a little bit on track, missing Q3 by a fraction of a second. Starting from row four for race one means it’s going to be difficult, but the flip side is that is that the bike’s working really well and my race pace is as good as anyone’s. I’ve no concern with tyre life and there’s definite silverware to be had tomorrow.”
Johnny Mowatt, Team Co-Ordinator: “Glenn was a bit unfortunate today to miss out on Q3, but he got caught out with track position and whilst 12th on the grid isn’t ideal, we all know how good he is at coming through the pack and managing his tyres. Shakey put the bike on the front row which is always his aim and both riders have really good race pace so we’re looking forward to tomorrow. We’ve got every chance of coming away with good results and podiums."
1 Bradley Ray (Suzuki) 44.997s
2 Shane Byrne (Be Wiser Ducati) 45.094s
3 James Ellison (Yamaha) 45.145s
4 Michael Laverty (BMW) 45.315s
5 Leon Haslam (Kawasaki) 45.318s
6 Tommy Bridewell (Suzuki) 45.391s
12 Glenn Irwin (Be Wiser Ducati) 45.413s