Shane 'Shakey' Byrne was satisfied with the first day's running on the new Snetterton 300 circuit despite finishing the day's second practice session in eighth place.
The BSB championship leader was only half a second away from the pace set by Tommy Hill but the playing field equal on the new layout, the HM Plant Honda man was six places behind his chief rival John Hopkins.
Byrne wasn't concerned though, and was pleased with the performance of the CBR1000RR Fireblade ahead of tomorrow's qualifying session.
“This morning I had a run out on Knockhill tyres and was just getting everything in order really. You could see who had tested at the circuit and I was reasonably happy. This afternoon we had a much better session and the lap times were coming easier for me with a few changes that we had made from the morning. Tommy (Hill) was fastest and he is only about a tenth quicker so I am not too worried. The new circuit layout is good and a challenge for all of us this weekend so with some more improvements I think we should have a good qualifying session tomorrow.”
Ryuichi Kiyonari was hoping this weekend would mark the start of the fightback for him after a poor run of results, but the weekend didn't get off to the best of starts for him after a technical problem in the first session.
The Japanese rider did get back out to finish the day in tenth, and was relieved to get the problems out of the way on Friday.
“I am happy; I was just unlucky in the second session I got dropped down in the last part. I am still getting used to the new section, I am trying different lines and braking markers to see which is fastest. Lap by lap today we have been getting faster and improving the times and I feel confident. It was a shame this morning we had a technical problem as I only did six laps and that meant in the second session the other riders were a bit ahead but I know we are coming better. Today is not Sunday and that is the day that will be important for me.”
Team manager Havier Beltran was also quietly confident and stressed that today's times may not represent the true picture in terms of relative pace amongst the teams.
“It has been a good start to the round for HM Plant Honda. The times here on the new Snetterton 300 are so close that the positions don't really reflect the performances of both Shakey and Kiyo today. Both riders had a few small issues with the chassis set up but they had a positive session this afternoon and we are confident that we can resolve this before qualifying tomorrow afternoon.”