HM Plant Honda riders Shane 'Shakey' Byrne and Ryuichi Kiyonari believe the new Snetterton 300 layout will be a huge success, and can't wait to race on it for the first time this weekend.
Byrne comes into the event with a 31 point lead over John Hopkins after a brace of podium finishes at Knockhill, and is determined to be the first ever winner on the updated circuit, which he feels is much improved since last year.
“Snetterton has always been a cool track; the old layout was pretty straight forward so the changes are definitely for the better. I am looking forward to it that’s for sure. To win for the first time at the new track would mean quite a lot to me; I want to win every race but to do it on the new layout for myself and HM Plant Honda would certainly be something to celebrate.”
The track includes a new infield section, taking the overall lap distance to nearly 5km, and Kiyonari expects it to produce exciting and unpredictable racing. The Japanese rider currently holds the final spot in the championship showdown and has a fight on his hands to keep his title defence on track.
“I liked Snetterton before but now I think it will be more of a challenge and more exciting for the fans. I think we will all start the same so it is difficult to know who will be fastest, which is good for the fans but not so good for me as I want to win! At Knockhill I was feeling more comfortable and could push again and I was happier than I had been after Croft and Thruxton. We have won before at Snetterton on the old circuit and I want to win again for sure, especially for the first win. The HM Plant Honda Fireblade has been fast there in the past so we need to push hard and do everything we can to win.”
HM Plant Honda won all three races on the old layout last year and team manager Havier Beltran is predicting another positive weekend, despite the changes.
“In the past Snetterton has been a strong track for the HM Plant Honda team; last year we celebrated three wins so of course we would like to have a repeat performance of that. The situation is obviously slightly different this season with the new track layout, but we know we had a good pace at the pre-season test at the track and Shakey is confident after his recent run of podium finishes. Kiyo made some big improvements at Knockhill and this has been a good track for him in the past so we hope it will be again.”