Published: 11:30, 02 October 2017
Second place was the best Sittingbourne’s Shane Byrne could muster in the penultimate round of the British Superbike Championship.
The Ducati rider slipped down the order in race two of the second Showndown meeting at Assen, finishing fifth, and trails title leader Leon Halsam by 33 points going into the final-round triple header at Brands Hatch in two weeks’ time with 75 still available.
Byrne started race one down in 16th place but made good progress, battling with the leading bunch, before a pass on James Ellison netted him second behind Kawasaki’s Haslam.
With the fastest lap of the race giving Byrne pole position for race two, hopes were high and, after a good start, Shakey pulled away from the pack.
Ellison closed in and traded places with Shakey, Byrne reclaiming the lead two laps later, but on lap 16 with a five-way battle at the front Byrne and Halsam drifted wide at turn one, opening the door for Sylvain Guintoli (Suzuki), Ellison (Yamaha) and Josh Brookes (Yamaha) to pass and fifth was as good as it got. Guintoli went on to win the race.
Byrne said: “We were able to take a lot of positives out of the first race and to come through from 16th on the grid to second was pleasing.
“The one person I’m focused on at the moment is Leon as he’s leading the championship, so getting involved with riders not part of the Showdown made life difficult.
“I should have been really happy with second place but the reality was I still didn’t beat Leon.
“Starting race two from pole made my life easier although I knew it would still be tough but I gave myself the best possible chance by leading for the majority of the race.
“The pace dropped when James Ellison passed me and I tried to fight back but made a mistake and dropped back to fifth so all I can do is go to Brands Hatch and do my very best.
“If that gets us the championship, then great, if it doesn’t, no one can say I didn’t try.”
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