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Tuesday 27th September 2011

SHAKEY RECOVERS TO SCORE TWO FIFTH PLACES AT SILVERSTONE SHOWDOWN

HM Plant Honda’s Shane 'Shakey' Byrne overcame his difficult qualifying session at the penultimate round of the British Superbike Championship at Silverstone with a determined ride in the two races secured him a pair of fifth place finishes ahead of the final round at Brands Hatch.

In the first race Shakey had to carve his way through the field following some radical changes following qualifying as the team tried to solve the chatter issues they had been suffering throughout free practice and qualifying. The gamble paid off and after a strong start the former double champion was through to fourth by the third lap. He fought with the Title Fighters and was able to score points in fifth, which he followed up again in race two despite leading for two laps. The HM Plant Honda rider now heads into the final round at his home circuit 44 points adrift and desperate to secure the final three wins of the season in a bid to keep his title hopes alive.

Ryuichi Kiyonari again struggled to find a set up to give him confidence in the races; in the opening race a problem on the grid caused him to be moved to pitlane as the team worked to resolve the issue. The defending champion should have started from the back of the grid but took his place on the fourth row and was subsequently given a ride through penalty. He rejoined but finished in 28th position and outside of the points. In the second race Kiyo again was unable to find the pace to run with the leading group and he could only finish in 13th position.

Shakey said: "We certainly didn't come to Silverstone to score two fifth places but if someone would have offered me that on Friday or even Saturday afternoon I would have snapped their arm off for it. It was a learning experience for me in the first race after we made some radical changes; it was just annoying that we found the pace at that point in the weekend despite the boys working so hard in the garage to turn things around. I was trying to get everything perfect in race two after leading for a few laps and then John (Hopkins) came past me in the slipstream down the straight and that was it. Maybe I could have had an answer for third or fourth on the last lap, but from 13th we turned it around well in the races. We are on the back foot coming into the final round at Brands Hatch but the championship is still far from over."

Kiyo said: “It was another difficult weekend and then to have a mechanical problem on the grid for the first race was disappointing. I didn’t realise that I needed to start from the back of the grid so I took my grid position and then saw that I had a ride through penalty. We had made changes that had some good and bad points, like we have had in previous rounds. I couldn’t go fast enough again and I am not happy with the results. I don’t want to end the season like this so for Brands Hatch I want to be back fighting with the other Title Fighters.”

Jason said: “It felt great to be back on the HM Plant Honda Fireblade after being out for so long with injury although the weekend didn’t go completely according to plan. I felt good being back out on the Honda Fireblade and it was just a shame that we had problems that meant we couldn’t challenge in the race. We showed we were capable of a strong finish in free practice and now we want to get to Brands Hatch and crack on for the final race of the season.”

Team Manager Havier Beltran concluded: “It was a massive turn around for Shakey with the big changes that were made ahead of the races. It was just a shame that we hadn’t been able to achieve that earlier in the weekend. To go from 13th to fifth was a big step forward and with three races there is still all to play for; we just need to figure out how to beat our compestruggled with Kiyo’s machine set up, again he wasn’t comfortable and it was another disappointing weekend – of course we need to try and resolve this for Brands Hatch. In the Superstock class it was really unfortunate for Jason to have suffered an electrical problem on his comeback, especially as we had suffered problems during qualifying too. The whole HM Plant Honda team now is focused on how we can improve for Brands Hatch and the final three races of the Showdown.”

 

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