Assen BSB: ‘The reality was I still didn’t beat Leon’ – Byrne

Picture: Impact Images

Reigning MCE British Superbike champion, Shane Byrne had one goal during the penultimate round of the series at Assen and that was to beat rival, JG Speedfit Kawasaki’s Leon Haslam.

During the double-header the Be Wiser Ducati rider was unable to out-pace the ZX-10RR, and now the racer is third in the overall standings, and is 33 points behind Haslam. But there is still all to play for, as Byrne is only one point away from Anvil Hire TAG Yamaha’s Josh Brookes, who is currently P2 in the championship, going into the final round at Brands Hatch in a few weeks time.

Aboard the factory-backed Be Wiser Ducati Panigale R, the five times and defending champion overcame a pair of crashes during qualifying to start the opening race from row six of the grid but the Sittingbourne-based Londoner was soon on the case in the dry conditions.

Knowing he needed to maximise his points haul in the second of the Showdown rounds, race one saw Byrne battle with the leading bunch before a pass on James Ellison netted him second place, as main title rival Haslam took the win.

However, with the fastest lap of the race, Byrne started the second 18-lap race from pole position and he made it count as he grabbed the hole-shot to lead into turn one. From there, Byrne led and started to pull a gap but a mistake going into turn one saw him run off track and try as he might, he was unable to make up any more places with fifth place the end result.

“We were able to take a lot of positives out of the first race and to come through from 16th on the grid to second was pleasing. The one person I’m focused on at the moment is Leon as he’s leading the championship so getting involved with riders not part of the Showdown made life difficult,” said Byrne.

“I should have been really happy with second place but the reality was I still didn’t beat Leon. Starting race two from pole made my life easier although I knew it would still be tough but I gave myself the best possible chance by leading for the majority of the race.

“The pace dropped when James (Ellison) passed me and I tried to fight back but made a mistake and dropped back to fifth so all I can do is go to Brands Hatch and do my very best. If that gets us the championship, then great, if it doesn’t, no-one can say I didn’t try.”

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