Any thoughts of an early start to the festive season for Rizla Suzuki are on hold as new signing Shane 'Shakey' Byrne travels to Almeria in Spain for the team's initial winter test on December 19th-20th, as preparations for the 2006 season commence.
The 29-year-old former British Champion is eager to climb aboard his new Superbike. "This pre-season test shows just how serious Rizla Suzuki and I are about challenging for the British Superbike Championship next year," he said.
"I have not ridden the GSX-R1000 before so this will allow me to get acquainted with it and find a good direction for future tests and races. I can't wait to get riding, it's going to be mega.
"I only hope the weather isn't the typical Christmas scene with snow and ice."
Shakey will be the lone rider at the test as his team mate James Haydon will remain at home in Andorra with his wife Jo and newly born son Zach. He said: "I'd love to attend but I'm needed at home now as a new daddy and a husband. I've chatted through the test programme with my technicians. I'm happy with the work they will be doing and will join the test programme in the New Year."
Rizla Suzuki will have a full complement of technical staff on-hand at the test. James's chief technician Stewart Johnstone is leading the GSX-R1000 development and has a host of new suspension and engine parts for Shakey to try. He will be joined by Shakey's chief technician, Lez Pearson, who returns to Rizla Suzuki after a two year absence.
"This is an important test for the team and will help to define the technical direction for several certain key components of the race bike," said team manager Robert Wicks.
"Shane is certainly fired up for the test and looking forward to acquainting himself with the Suzuki for the first time. The 2005 season was very tough for the team and we view this test as an important step in our preparations for running as competitively as possible next season."
Shakey will be meeting fans in his first public appearance since joining Rizla Suzuki at Crescent's Christmas sale at the Performance Centre in Verwood this Saturday, December 17th, between 11am - 3pm. At the same time he will be joined by triple BSB Champion, fans favourite and Rizla Suzuki legend John Reynolds, who will be making his first public appearance since announcing his retirement. For further details, call 01202-820170 or visit www.crescent-suzuki.com.