BSB – Shakey takes over championship lead after Snetterton.
By Philip Wain
As the saying goes, the cream always rises to the crop and that was certainly the case at Snetterton at the weekend, venue for round five of the 2016 British Superbike Championship, as Shane ‘Shakey’ Byrne put in a majestic performance on his Be Wiser Ducati.
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The four-time champion fired an ominous warning to his rivals over the course of the weekend and having taken pole position by over half a second, he put himself in the ideal position to take a double victory and also take command of the title race.
A near coming together with Leon Haslam threw a spanner in the works in the first race but the 39-year old tore through the pack to come from dead last to third. 2016 is, arguably, the most competitive season in BSB but Byrne either proved that theory wrong or proved he’s head and shoulders above the rest of the field by achieving such a feat.
He then controlled the second race from the front and it saw him reclaim the Championship. Obviously, there’s still a long way to go but, as stated at the beginning of the year, the combination of Byrne and the Ducati Panigale R are only going to get stronger as the year wears on and the opposition will have taken serious note of his Snetterton performance.
For the first time this season, Haslam failed to finish on the podium in at least one of the races but he’s still only four points adrift of Byrne with seven rounds still remaining. With three riders in the team, the JG Speedfit Kawasaki have taken a lot on this year and whilst Haslam’s lack of rostrums this weekend isn’t necessarily attributed to that, they will perhaps have to make the decision soon on who they’re backing for the title and with James Ellison having a weekend to forget in Norfolk, maybe now’s the time to throw their weight behind Haslam in case their three-rider attack peters out.
Snetterton also showed how serious a threat the Honda challenge is with both Jason O’Halloran and Dan Linfoot impressing. The Fireblade maybe long in the tooth compared to the other manufacturers but with O’Halloran taking his maiden BSB win and Linfoot taking a brace of podiums, their intention is clear to see and, at this moment in time, they’re the most likely team to have two riders in the Showdown places come the conclusion of round nine.
MCE Insurance British Superbike Championship standings:
- Shane Byrne (Be Wiser Ducati) 156
- Leon Haslam (JG Speedfit Kawasaki) 152
- Jason O’Halloran (Honda Racing) 116
- Dan Linfoot (Honda Racing) 111
- Christian Iddon (Tyco BMW) 104
- Richard Cooper (Buildbase BMW) 98