Shane “Shakey” Byrne enjoyed a winning finale to a problematic weekend at Snetterton as he powered his Rapid Solicitors Kawasaki to a seventh victory of the season in the second race of the fifth round of the MCE Insurance British Superbike Championship.
The defending champion crossed the line ahead of Samsung Honda’s Alex Lowes who had won the opening race and was pushing desperately hard to make it a double win with a move on the final lap, but Byrne had the edge. Josh Brookes, a close second in race one, had attempted a lunge for the lead in race two which saw him run onto the grass at Brundle and finish third.
Championship leader Byrne had troubles during free practice and into qualifying and he admitted: “The first race was dreadful for me – I didn’t enjoy it. I couldn’t turn the bike, nearly lost the front at Oggies on the warm up lap. It was very difficult.”
His team transformed the bike between races: “I was so frustrated. I had to ride and not race, and I want to race to win. The team worked really hard to make changes and I felt more confident to be able to push hard and settled down in the second one. I went from wanting to kill the team to wanting to marry them in the space of two races!”
Lowes rode hard, taking his best results of the season so far with the victory and second place, he said: “I really enjoyed the races and in the second one I tried to get into a position to try and take Shakey but I never quite got there. I learned a lot from him over the last five laps, but he didn’t make any mistakes and rode really well.”
It had been a different story in the opening race, after an early intervention by the Nissan Safety Car, as Lowes swooped through from third to first in half a lap, passing first Byrne and then Brookes, before edging out a lead to the line.
Lowes said: “I’ve worked so hard all weekend to be up here at the front, putting in so many laps after the nightmare of Friday when we had problems. I stopped Shakey’s run of wins earlier today, shown him what we can do and also hit back after my disappointment at Knockhill.”
Lowes’ push means he regained second place in the standings, just three points ahead of Brookes as the top six positions shuffled again with Ryuichi Kiyonari climbing to fifth ahead of Jon Kirkham. The current top six features five different manufacturers ahead of the next round at Brands Hatch on 19-21 July.
1:Alex Lowes (Samsung Honda)
2:Josh Brookes (Tyco Suzuki) +1.984s
3:Shane Byrne (Rapid Solicitors Kawasaki) +2.027s
4:James Ellison (Milwaukee Yamaha) +2.523s
5:Ryuichi Kiyonari (Samsung Honda) +6.009s
6:James Westmoreland (Buildbase BMW) +20.065s
1:Shane Byrne (Rapid Solicitors Kawasaki)
2:Alex Lowes (Samsung Honda) +0.245s
3:Josh Brookes (Tyco Suzuki) +7.018s
4:Ryuichi Kiyonari (Samsung Honda) +7.868s
5:James Westmoreland (Buildbase BMW) +8.587s
6:Chris Walker (Quattro Plant Bournemouth Kawasaki) +12.961s
1:Shane Byrne (Rapid Solicitors Kawasaki) 207
2:Alex Lowes (Samsung Honda) 175
3:Josh Brookes (Tyco Suzuki) 172
4:James Ellison (Milwaukee Yamaha) 160
5:Ryuichi Kiyonari (Samsung Honda) 83
6:Jon Kirkham (Buildbase BMW) 81