Byrne remains cautious despite increasing championship lead


Shane Byrne says that this year’s MCE British Superbike Championship battle is not a done deal – despite increasing his lead to 27 points.

Byrne’s title rival Leon Haslam crashed out of a rain-hit race one at Brands Hatch, allowing him to take advantage in the standings.

The opening race of the weekend was a tricky one, that was full of incidents and restarts. The first staging of the race was stopped after three laps due to an incident. The re-start was only a lap old when the rain started to fall again and it was stopped again before the race was eventually re-started for a third time over 15 laps.

A cautious Byrne would eventually end up crossing the line in a respectable sixth place, after managing to stay on his Be Wiser Ducati machine.

Afterwards he said: “That was a difficult race and although Leon crashing out has given me a few more points lead in the championship table, it’s certainly not a done deal and I’m fully aware anything can still happen. The bike has been phenomenal in the dry but whilst I’ve won a race in the wet, it’s a lot harder to get the set up right in the wet conditions today.

“I was trying my absolute hardest just to stay on the bike as the balance wasn’t quite right and if I’d have tried to have gone with the riders ahead of me, I’d have been down. We got more points which was what we needed, and whilst I’m hoping for two dry races tomorrow, if it’s wet I know we’ll have a much better package.”

With 50 points up for grabs in today’s two races, Byrne needs 24 points over the two races, which equates to a fourth and fifth place finish, to guarantee his fifth title – that is providing Haslam wins both races.

The team’s technical director, Phil Borley added: “I really hope tomorrow is less stressful! Shakey looked really strong in the dry and we were disappointed the race got stopped although, of course, safety is paramount and we wish the injured riders well.

“The wet race was certainly tough to negotiate but with Leon crashing it worked out in our favour today in terms of Shakey extending his title lead.”

Today’s races are scheduled to take place at 1:15pm and 4pm respectively.