Shakey’s title lead cut at Snetterton

11:48 04 July 2011

Shane Byrne

Shane Byrne

© all rights Double Red

Shane Byrne’s lead at the top of the British Superbike Championship has been trimmed to 19 points after an eventful weekend’s racing at Snetterton.

Tyre problems curtailed Shakey’s qualifying session and the Sheppey rider started from the second row of the grid for Sunday’s first race after going sixth-fastest.

The 34-year-old crept up to third, however, and held his position either side of a safety car period, chalking up a valuable podium credit while John Hopkins, his closest title challenger, took the race win.

A frantic start to race two saw Shakey move third again and he then passed Josh Brookes to take second and bear down on race leader Hopkins. Shakey managed to get in front on the penultimate lap but the pair collided soon after and he re-joined the race fourth, with his HM Plant Honda team-mate Ryuichi Kiyonari stealing in for the win.

Shakey said: “In the beginning of the first race I was feeling really comfortable and was in touch with John [Hopkins] and Tommy [Hill]. It was the first time I had done a long race run though and I was struggling with tyre longevity over the final laps. They were ahead and after the safety car I thought that it was better to take third and a podium credit than ending on the floor with a crash.

“The team has been working hard and in race two the boys had done such a great job to improve the HM Plant Honda Fireblade; by the restart I felt we had the pace to challenge for the win. It has taken us longer than expected to get up to the pace we needed this weekend and the HM Plant Honda Fireblade was feeling fantastic.

“The race had been pretty hectic and I had got in front of Hopper [Hopkins] the lap before and I was obviously disappointed to be taken out. He has since apologised but I was a bit gutted really as I thought I could have won that second race for HM Plant Honda.”

Byrne’s title challenge resumes on the weekend of July 17, when the championship heads to Oulton Park.

Photo by Honda Racing

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