Row Two Start For Byrne At KnockhillSat, 17/06/2017
Shane ‘Shakey’ Byrne will head up the second row of the grid for tomorrow’s opening MCE British Superbike Championship race at Knockhill after the Be Wiser Ducati rider posted the fourth quickest time during today’s Datatag Extreme Qualifying session.
With team-mate Glenn Irwin ruled out of action after suffering a dislocated elbow and shoulder yesterday, it was left to five-times champion Byrne to fly the flag for the Penrith-based team on the factory-backed Be Wiser Ducati Panigale R and a best time of 48.390s across the three free practice sessions placed him second quickest overall going into qualifying.
However, due to track contamination, the usual three-part knockout system was discarded and instead replaced by a straight 30-minute qualifying session whereby Shakey waited until ten minutes of the session had passed before taking to the track.
Having won seven of the last nine races to be held at the Fife venue, it only took Byrne three laps to move up to third place. With ten minutes remaining, the Sittingbourne rider had been pushed back to seventh with only five minutes to go as he pitted to make adjustments but a final lap of 48.467s hauled him back up to fourth and the second row of the grid, only 0.170s adrift of pole position man Luke Mossey.
Shane Byrne: “I’m not happy with fourth that’s for sure. We came to Knockhill knowing it would be a difficult circuit for us in the dry even though I won here last year but I’m three tenths slower than what I was last year. The package is good but the nature of the track means that it throws challenges at the bike that it doesn’t always respond to. Track conditions weren’t the greatest but I really put it on the line in qualifying and whilst fourth isn’t good, it’s better to be there than crashing and that nearly happened a few times. We’ve got plenty of data to work through and the team will work through it diligently to improve it so we can be fighting at the front tomorrow.”
Phil Borley, Technical Director: “It hasn’t been a good weekend so far with Glenn’s crash yesterday, which we believe was due to a component failure and not rider error, and only fourth in qualifying for Shakey today. He had been going well in free practice but it didn’t come together in qualifying and he had to work hard to get fourth as he didn’t quite have the front end feeling he was looking for. We believe Shakey has good race pace but, at the same time, tyre life for the races is a bit of an unknown as we haven’t been able to get any real long runs done so far due to the track conditions. He hasn’t been able to push to the limit yet but we’ll make some changes to the bike for morning warm up and will hopefully be up there challenging on race day.”
1 Luke Mossey (Kawasaki) 48.297s
2 Jake Dixon (Kawasaki) +0.101s
3 James Ellison (Yamaha) +0.167s
4 Shane Byrne (Be Wiser Ducati) +0.170s
5 Jason O’Halloran (Honda) +0.185s
6 Josh Brookes (Yamaha) +0.220s