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Donington BSB: Byrne takes race one win with new lap record

Be Wiser Ducati’s Shane Byrne had a seven second advantage as he crossed the finishing line in first place, in the opening MCE British Superbike race at Donington Park.

Second place went to JG Speedfit Kawasaki’s Leon Haslam, who did lead at one point, but it looked like Byrne’s softer option tyre choices held the pace, compared the harder front and rear tyres chosen by the Derby-based racer. The temperature was too warm for Haslam and in the end he had no grip , and the SCO rear tyre of Byrne performed better in the hotter temperatures.

Honda Racing’s Jason O’Halloran completed the rostrum after out-pacing James Ellison to snatch the final podium spot. It was a complete Showdown rider top three, and now Byrne leads the series by two points. But not only that Byrne bettered his on lap record at the Leicestershire circuit and clocked a 1’29.136.


Ellison, Hickman, Cooper, title fighter, Dan Linfoot, Hopkins and Laverty completed the top ten, with Smrz, Jackson, Irwin, Hook and Iannuzzo the last of the point finishers. It was also the first time this season that the Italian has bagged some points in the championship.

At first it was Ellison who claimed the hole-shot going into Redgate with his team-mate Haslam close behind. But Byrne was never too far away and went into third. Then coming out of the penultimate corner Byrne edged Ellison into the lead, with Haslam getting the better of his fellow ZX-10R racer too.

Meanwhile further down the grid O’Halloran was gaining pace on Ellison, but the leading trio had a three second advantage over the Fireblade rider. But on lap twelve Byrne and Haslam pulled away slightly from Ellison and etched another two seconds from the Cumbrian.

With four laps left Byrne had a 1.2 second gap between the JG Speedfit backed Kawasaki of local lad, Haslam. Byrne went for the SC1 front and zero rear, and it appeared that the SC0 rear tyre was holding out, while Haslam ran with his favourite tyre, the SC1 rear Pirelli.

But with only three rotations left the fight was well and truly on for the final podium spot, with O’Halloran gaining momentum to go in front and made a move that stuck coming out of Coppice.

Showdown contender Luke Mossey was inside the top ten but then had a brake problem on the fourth lap and retreated to the pits. It was not the best of races for the Quattro Plant Kawasaki outfit as Filip Backlund crashed unhurt at the Old Hairpin.

The majority of the rider’s opted for the softer front and rear tyres. But as per usual Haslam went with the SC2 front and SC1 rear, with Mossey riding with the SC1 on both the front and rear.

There were a few fallers, including Anvil Hire TAG Racing’s James Rispoli at Coppice, and Honda Racing’s Jenny Tinmouth fell at the Foggy Esses. FS-3 Racing’s Billy McConnell was in eleventh and then low sided at the Melbourne Hairpin, but he walked away from the crash.

Bennetts Suzuki’s Tommy Bridewell had an issue with his machine and retired to the pits with fourteen laps remaining. Moto Rapido Ducati’s Stuart Easton was inside the points, but he had problems on track with the Panigale and sadly made his way back to the garage on lap nine of twenty.

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