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Shane Byrne was reunited with former boss Paul Bird this week in a deal for next year which may include MotoGP rides alongside the British Superbike Championship (BSB) season.

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Talks began back in August and the move for next year was finally confirmed this week. It is the third time the 35-year-old has ridden for Paul Bird Motorsport, with whom he won the BSB title in 2003.

The Sheppey rider, nicknamed Shakey, said returning to the workshop in Cumbria felt like coming home. Byrne, who finished third in this year’s BSB championship with HM Plant Honda, is confident the Kawasaki will give him a great chance of winning a third title.

There is also the added possibility of competing in MotoGP, where Byrne competed in 2004 and 2005.

He said: “At one point Paul and I were talking about World Superbikes or MotoGP. I think there’s a fair chance I might get a run out in MotoGP a couple of times next year, so it’s not just a straightforward BSB deal. It could lead to bigger things.

“I wouldn’t have signed if I wasn’t thinking the team would be competitive [in BSB] straight away. I have a great team behind me - they were winning races in World Superbikes - so I think we’ll be strong.”

Testing is not expected to begin until the New Year.

Photo by HM PLANT HONDA

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