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Byrne hunts Snetterton wins: "It feels a long time since Donington!"

Tuesday, June 16 2015

Shane 'Shakey' Byrne continues his MCE Insurance British Superbike Championship title defence at Snetterton this weekend (19-21 June) and the four-time champion is determined to return to winning ways, having missed out in the most recent rounds.

Byrne trails standings leader James Ellison by eight points ahead of the weekend and the PBM Kawasaki rider believes that the recent official test at the circuit helped the team take a further step forward, despite awaiting new parts in their drive to smash records and score a fifth title this season.

Byrne said: "The test went pretty good. I got caught out on the first morning with a really strange crash that didn't really help things. It wasn't anything to do with me being on the limit or pushing too hard I just got caught out - it was so close to being a save that it wasn't even funny! But it wasn't and I was on the floor so it's all a bit irrelevant!

"We went to the test and there were supposed to be lots of new parts for us to try, but they were all just a day or two too late. We ended up just running the bike we normally run, but generally speaking it was a really productive test as we did lots and lots of laps and were fast way over race distance on race tyres, and ultimately that is what it going to get you 25 points."

Byrne celebrated victory at the opening round of the season at Donington Park and since then followed it up with a further four podium finishes although his consecutive run of top three finishes ended on the floor at Oulton Park when Ryuichi Kiyonari collided with his title rival. So how does the reigning champion feel the season has gone so far?

"I have to say that for me from my side of things it's been a very difficult start," reflected Byrne. "Sometimes the problem with being me is expectation and you are not allowed to have a bad day or things are not allowed to go wrong and everybody thinks because it's Shakey he will be at the front. I have a great team behind me and a great package that helps me to do that. At the same time I haven't had as much time on the bike [due to pre-season injury], everyone is going really fast and the times at the Snetterton test were pretty incredible but I was really happy with the pace that I ran at the test.

"It has been a difficult with just one win so far and the last time I rode the bike I had the crash with Kiyo; I was over that straight away and I don't hold any grudges whatsoever, but I would have been more than happy if someone would have said we were going to have an extra race there as I think we could have gone out and absolutely smashed it."

Byrne scored a double win at the Norfolk circuit last season and that is something he is eager to repeat in his bid to return to the top of the standings and secure a haul of podium points ahead of the Showdown, but knows it is going to be tight at the top in Norfolk.

"For the event you can never discount Kiyo, who wasn't at the recent test," added Byrne. "Ultimately the top four or five of us will always be somewhere near the front and I am sure there will be others coming to that party as the season progresses.

"The reality of it is, it isn't too drastic until we get closer to the Showdown, but obviously I want to score as many podium points as I can between now and then and I would also like to get a bit of a run of wins going to be honest as it feels like a bit of a long time since Donington Park! If we can get a few wins under our belts before the Showdown and keep the podium points high then that should put us in a good place for the end of season."

Tickets for the MCE Insurance British Superbike Championship at Snetterton on 19-21 June are available from £26, with free entry for under-13s.  For more information call 0843 453 9000 or click  here.