Rizla Suzuki's Shane 'Shakey' Byrne was eighth fastest and less than a second from the top in today's practice for the sixth round of the Bennetts British Superbike Championship at Mallory Park.
Returning to Mallory Park for his first time in three years, Shakey spent the day re-learning the frantic and fast 1.41-mile long Leicestershire circuit. In bright sunshine he also had to contend with a new chicane introduced half-way round the fast Gerard's corner in a bid to improve track safety and slow the bikes down.
Rizla Suzuki's James Haydon had just recorded his fastest lap of the day in the afternoon session when he suffered a high-speed crash on the entrance to Gerard's. He was taken to Leicester Royal Infirmary for x-rays and further assessment. He finished the day 13th on the time sheets. Honda's Ryuichi Kiyonari was quickest.
Superbike racing starts at 13:15 on Sunday, June 4th and will be televised on ITV1 at 15:00 and on Sky Sports 3 at 21:00.
"It's been a while since I raced at Mallory Park and it took the practice sessions for me to get to grips with the track again. It's fast, slow and scary all at once.
"At the moment I am struggling to lean the bike over and drive forward at the same time. We are lacking rear end grip and that is what we will be concentrating on tomorrow. It's nice to be riding in bright sunshine again!"
Niall Mackenzie, Race Operations Manager:
"Shakey is riding well on his comeback to Mallory Park and his confidence is sky high. His bike is giving him plenty of feedback but lacks rear end grip and that's something the team will be focusing on before he goes on track again. He certainly has fire in his belly and is keener than anyone to get a good result this weekend.
"James had slashed his lap times by nearly a second between sessions to post his fastest time of the day when he crashed at Gerard's. It was a fairly high speed crash and after being checked over at the medical centre, he was taken to Leicester Royal Infirmary as a precaution."
Gregorio Lavilla commented, "It is well known that Mallory is not my favourite track to visit and I am not too happy with today as the settings we have tried do not suit a track like this. We will do some more work on the bike and try to find some more appropriate settings and I think when I get back out there in the morning I will be in a better situation and can improve my times then focus on qualifying in the afternoon."
Leon Haslam was happy with his performance saying, "I was setting consistent times today and I am happy with that, I think we can still progress with the bike and I feel there is more to come; 0.1 second around this track is everything so I need to get it right. This is by no means my favourite circuit but I am happy with how things have gone today and I am looking forward to going faster still tomorrow."
- 1: Ryuichi Kiyonari (Honda) 56:073
- 2: Leon Haslam (Ducati) +0.205
- 3: Michael Rutter (Honda) +0.308
- 4: Karl Harris (Honda) +0.346
- 5: Jonathan Rea (Honda) +0.492
- 6: Gregorio Lavilla (Ducati) +0.605
- 7: Michael Laverty (Honda) +0.824
- 8: Shane Byrne (Suzuki) +0.838
- 9: Scott Smart (Suzuki) +0.951
- 10: Ben Wilson (Suzuki) +0.960