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Christmas comes early for Shakey - December 20th 2005

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    Shane 'Shakey' Byrne says his first test session on the Rizla Suzuki GSX-R1000 Superbike at Almeria in Southern Spain was a success.

    The former British Superbike Champion spent the last two-days learning about his new Rizla Suzuki bike and team. He said: "The test has been blinding - absolutely mega. I am really happy with the progress we made and only wish I was staying on for more riding."

    Yesterday rain drenched the track but that didn't stop the enthusiastic Londoner from reacquainting himself with a Superbike after spending the last two-years racing in MotoGP. Riding the 2005 Rizla Suzuki, he crashed twice in the treacherous conditions, walking away unhurt each time.

    Today was dry and he started out on the 2005 bike before changing over to the 2006 Rizla Suzuki at lunch and completing nearly 60-laps.

    "Today was really my first time on the Rizla Suzuki in earnest as it was dry," explained Shakey. "It was also my first time on a Superbike and on Dunlop tyres for the last two years. Particularly in the morning, I was riding the GSX-R1000 like a MotoGP bike and I had to change my riding style slightly.

    "Once I adapted, I got on well with the current bike before switching to the new development 2006 GSX-R1000. We spent all afternoon working on that and got it to a good position. I wasn't quickest overall, but was close and think I may have been able to go faster.

    "We will go to the next test with a good bike and improve more. I'm also happy with the team and support around me - having a happy working environment is important. Overall, I'm delighted, it's like Christmas has come early."

    Shakey finished just two-tenths of a second behind fastest man at the test, Michael Rutter on a Honda.

    Rizla Suzuki team co-ordinator Simon Green said: "The test has been positive. Shakey rode well within himself and tested the old and new bikes together. He liked them both and we are certain that the 2006 GSX-R1000 is a faster motorcycle.

    "As a team we have achieved what we set out to do. We have tested our new Rizla Suzuki GSX-R1000 and have lots of data to work on before our next outing."

    The Rizla Suzuki team now returns to the UK and will be testing again early in the New Year. From Shakey, James Haydon and all of the team, enjoy a Merry Christmas and a happy New Year!