Thruxton BSB: Tyre issues halt Byrne and Hopkins

Both Shane Byrne and John Hopkins were forced to retire their Ducatis from yesterday’s second MCE British Superbike race with tyre problems.

Be Wiser Ducati’s Byrne took fourth place in the opening race and believed he was in a position to challenge winner Josh Brookes in the second outing but heavy vibration from the rear saw him pull out on lap 13. Hopkins got to half race distance and his Moto Rapido Panigale was left with no grip, so he too removed himself from proceedings after pitting with a slow puncture in race one.

“From the go this weekend it has been really, really hard and there has been no stone left unturned. I did a 13.8 last year and I was convinced I could do a mid-13s here. Everything we could have done hasn’t really made a difference,” said Byrne.

“We made a big change for race two and for the first half I thought we had cracked it. I felt really confident and I thought we could do this and went for it and then all of a sudden the pace started to drop off and then I had a lot vibration and the bike was floating around at the rear.

“I slowed down at turn one to look around at my tyre and it looked OK so I tried to keep going but then I thought I don’t need a 180mph blow out when Showdown is two rounds away. It’s been a very, very difficult weekend for myself and the team.

“Three weeks ago we were under the lap record for fun, the bike felt really good and we need to get the bike back to those settings, I will do some training down in Spain and return even more determined.”

A clearly disappointed Hopkins added: “We got a decent start in race one but after a couple of laps in I was pushing the front everywhere and it felt really strange and really loose. It started to get worse after the safety car went in and it was just a matter of nursing the bike home. It turned out we had a slow puncture in the front. The tyre was nearly down to the rim by the time we got it back to the garage so it was good to get it home and get some points.

“Going into race two everything felt really good, again I got a good start and we were right there in the hunt and in a battle with O’Halloran and Brookes and at that point I felt quite comfortable and I slipped into tyre conservation mode.

“I felt like I was getting into a good rhythm and then from half race distance, I instantly felt like I had no rear tyre whatsoever. Every time I tried to turn it into a corner, the bike went full lock sideways. I tried to nurse it around and I was five or six seconds off the pace and nearly crashing in every right-hand corner so I had to pull in.

“So we had an issue with the front tyre in race one and the rear tyre in race two. It’s frustrating because we know we had the pace and the capabilities to be in the top 5 consistently. To have niggling little issues in every race is frustrating we know we can do it and we know we can get there.”

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