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Tuesday 19th July 2011

HM PLANT HONDA JUST MISS OUT ON PODIUM FINISH AT OULTON PARK

HM Plant Honda’s Shane 'Shakey' Byrne just missed out on a podium finish at the seventh round of the British Superbike Championship at Oulton Park in the single race as heavy rain ended the event prematurely.

Shakey had a flying start to settle into second place behind title rival John Hopkins, but on the opening lap he took the lead and led until the fourth lap when he dropped back to second. He then came under pressure from Tommy Hill and with a lack of rear grip he dropped to third where he remained until the final lap when Michael Rutter made a move on the final corner of the last lap. Byrne took a strong fourth place, but as closest title rival Hopkins crashed out he was able to extend his advantage in the standings to 32 points. Kiyo meanwhile struggled in the conditions and he was only able to salvage 15th place.

The second BSB race has been rescheduled to the August Bank Holiday event at Cadwell Park.

In the National Superstock 1000 Championship Luke Jones was eager to move up the order in the race after qualifying 23rd on the grid as he continued to improve his pace throughout the weekend. He was able to move up the order in the opening laps and was soon inside the top 15, but as he had a couple of movements on track he dropped to 18th and the race was red flagged after the fourth lap and the result declared. Following the race two riders were excluded and Luke took 16th.

Shakey said: “I honestly can’t believe I led some of the laps in the race as it wasn’t easy. I battled for the podium and I have never had so many near crashes in one race in my career. We just need to improve our wet setting and it wasn’t helped with the changing conditions over the weekend. We took a gamble on our setting for the race and it was faster than we were yesterday. The team did a great job to get a better feeling for me with the rear tyre and fourth place meant good points for our championship, especially as John Hopkins crashed. I was disappointed to get knocked off the podium in the race on the last lap but with the issues we were having it wasn’t a bad result. I am just sorry for the fans and the HM Plant Honda team that we didn’t get back on the podium today.”

Kiyo said: “Today was disappointing as we had a problem getting heat into the rear tyre and it meant I just couldn’t push as hard as I wanted to. I am happy with the machine setting but in the wet it just didn’t work out today; I think if it had been dry we would have been able to challenge for the win. Riders were able to pass me and there was nothing I could do about it but at least I was still able to stay in the top six in the standings which is so important.”

Luke said: “I got a good start and I just carved my way through on the opening lap as I had a good start. Everyone was quite tentative and as we went into Shell Oils Corner the back came round and I was out of the seat. It did happen a couple of times and I think I just needed to make some changes to the rear in those conditions. After a few laps it was affecting my pace and I lost a few places. Nobody likes to see a red flag but I thought that it might give us a chance to make a few changes, but unfortunately it was declared a result. I just need to thank the HM Plant Honda Team and everyone involved with the team for giving me the opportunity to ride for them this weekend.”

Team Manager Havier Beltran concluded: “We leave Oulton Park with mixed feelings after the decision to abandon the second BSB race due to weather. It was good to salvage fourth for Shakey in those conditions with the problems we were having in the first race. It was disappointing we were not able to progress any further up the order and we still have work to do on our wet setting, but the positive is that Shakey still leads the championship. Kiyo had a difficult weekend but he still maintained his position inside the top six which is the priority. For Luke he made progress all weekend and we are happy with his performance in a variety of conditions. He did a good job and we want to thank him for his efforts at Oulton Park.”

For further information about Honda, the HM Plant Honda team and its riders please visit
www.honda.co.uk or www.honda-racing.co.uk

 

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