Shane Byrne made amends for an uncharacteristic race one error at Assen by outwitting Ryuichi Kiyonari later in the afternoon with a perfectly judged win to maintain his lead in the British Superbike Championship.
|Byrne pounced at the last moment for a sensation victory in race two
Photo: MCE Insurance British Superbike.com
Despite finishing on the podium for nine races running, Byrne threw away a certain podium finish at the worst possible moment in Sunday’s 19-lap opener while trying to chase down Josh Waters and Kiyonari in worsening conditions.
Having led the opening laps Byrne fell at the fast turn eight on lap 15 as he sat third in a spill that saw his sizable championship lead shrink from 26 to seven points as form-man Kiyonari scored his tenth podium from fourteen races.
“I ended up on my backside,” he told British Eurosport before race two. “It was difficult conditions in the first [race]. I pushed to get to the front. I maybe used a bit too much of my rear tyre and when the rain came again there wasn’t a lot of grip left at all. I looked at my board the lap before [the crash] and it said [there were] 14 seconds behind me. I just rolled the throttle going into turn eight and it spun around on me. It was the last thing I needed.”
Byrne rallied in the second encounter and, while all-too-aware of his winless streak that stretched back twelve races to Knockhill in June, he stalked Kiyonari until the final lap. The Rapid Solicitors Kawasaki man looked as though he was able to move under Kiyonari at the final chicane throughout the race. He timed his move to perfection, pouncing on the final lap, giving Kiyonari no time to respond.
“It gave me more work to do in the second race but once I’d got on the back of Kiyo, my main concern was trying to decide when to make a move,” he said. “The pace for the first half of the race wasn’t that strong but in the second half, Kiyo stepped it up and I knew it would go to the end. I had terrific mid-corner and exit speed just before the chicane but knew if I passed him he’d come straight back so I decided to leave it until the very last lap so he wouldn’t have chance to respond so it was fantastic to pull it off and eke out a bit of gap in the points table.”
Byrne’s first non-point scoring ride of the season means his championship lead is just twelve points with five races to play.