Byrne: "Last year was a kick in the nuts"

Author: : Bike Social Sports Reporter Posted: 03 Apr 2014

Byrne says last year was a kick in the nuts

Shane Byrne has said that losing out on the title to Alex Lowes last year was a "kick in the nuts", but claims it was the kick in the nuts needed to fire him up for the season ahead.

It seems to have worked so far too, with the Rapid Solicitors Kawasaki rider topping the timesheets at the recent Donington Park test, lapping comfortably under the circuit lap record.

“It’s nice to top the test but it’s hardly important” Byrne said, speaking to Bike Social at Donington Park on Wednesday.

“We had a job to do and some stuff to try and we did that job and tried that stuff and that’s more important than being at the top of the timesheets. We had a fairly decent run and the consistency is good, I did a fifteen lap run and it was really consistent so yeah we’ve ticked a few boxes. We’ve a few more things to try and Snetterton and we’ll see where are then.”

Byrne remains with Paul Bird’s Rapid Solicitors Kawasaki outfit for the third year running, and says the bike isn’t much different to the one he rode last year. His main rivals however, such as Josh Brookes and James Ellison have switched to new teams and manufacturers for the 2014 season, but Byrne doesn’t see this as too much of a disadvantage for them.

“The bike isn’t fundamentally different to last year, just a couple of small changes. With the way the rules are now there isn’t a great deal of scope to change things anyway, everybody is kind of optimised and knows where they are at.

“I don’t buy that my rivals will be slower because they’ve changed bikes this year, at the end of the day it doesn’t take days upon days to try and understand something. If you have a problem you can’t get your head around at one particular track that’s one thing but it never takes them long to figure stuff out. Alright, they’ve got different bikes but the teams are running the same bikes and still have the data from the last god knows how many years!”

The British Superbike grid is jam-packed for 2014 with thirty-one riders setByrne topped the Donington test toline up for the championship come Easter weekend at Brands Hatch including nine British Superbike race winners. Byrne wouldn’t be drawn on who he thought he’d be fighting against though…

“I don’t really focus on my rivals too much, I’m here to do my job and concentrate on what I need to do rather than what someone else is doing. If I focus on myself and the times that I can do and the decisions we make as a team, come Sunday afternoon we will be there or there abouts.”

Byrne missed out in the title battle last year by a handful of points to Lincolnshire’s Alex Lowes, who edged Byrne to title victory in the final race. Forced to start the race from near the back of the grid, Byrne fought through but by the closing laps, his tyres were nowhere near as good as the youngster’s.

“I’m not going to lie, last year was a kick in the nuts but it was probably the kick in the nuts that I needed to get me all fired up again for this year. We know what we’ve got to do this year and we’ll do the best we can and see where we’re at come October!”

Byrne dominated the first part of last year, taking seven wins in the first five rounds. Having lost out on the title after a strong first half of the season before under the ‘showdown rules’, Byrne approached the organisers concerned about how little the first few rounds can mean. Responding, BSB bosses revised the podium credits system for 2014 meaning more emphasis is placed on the rounds ahead of the showdown, with more points now available for podium finishes.

“The rules have changed this season to place more importance on the first half of the season, it could have gone a little further than it did but it’s heading in the right direction. I had a chat with the organisers about it and we spoke about a few different bits and pieces and I’m really pleased that they’ve listened to a degree. It’s cool that you can go to them and say what you think, put ideas forward and then they mull them around and have a think and then come up with a system, which is a step in the right direction.”

British Superbikes will test at Snetterton next week ahead of the first round of the season at Brands Hatch over Easter Bank Holiday. 

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