Shane Byrne was officially confirmed as remaining in the MCE British Superbike Championship with the PBM Kawasaki team on Wednesday evening.
Just before the announcement, Byrne held this wide ranging interview with Crash.net
during the team's test session at Cartagena.
Byrne lost out on a record fourth BSB crown to Samsung Honda's Alex Lowes in the final race of this season. The 37-year-old thus remains tied with Ryuichi Kiyonari and Niall Mackenzie for BSB titles, although Byrne's 2013 efforts have made him BSB's all-time record holder for race wins, with 51 victories...
Looking back at 2013 how do you feel the season went?
I think that first and foremost there's nothing that I look back on about 2013 that I think 'I wish I had done this or I wish I had done that.' I did the best that I could for myself, the team and the fans. At Brands Hatch, for the last round, I was gutted for the fans that the weather was bad because if had been dry it would have been another one of those epic battles that Alex [Lowes] and I had been having.
I was feeling good and hoping that it would be dry and that we'd have three good races to decide who was going to be champion. I know that in the conditions that we raced in that I gave it my all, coming from the back of the grid, to catch Alex and had a bit of a battle at the end and he beat me. Obviously it was disappointing having been the current champion but I can look anybody in the eye and honestly say that I did my best.
How do you rate Alex compared to the other guys that you've gone up against in the BSB or MotoGP?
Alex has really, really progressed since the Showdown last year and when he won at Silverstone last year he said to me that there was a lot more to come. As a rider you can see, if you look at a few different championships, when someone is coming and I knew that he'd be strong and jumping on the Samsung Honda he was only going to get stronger.
In the first part of the year everything was pretty cool and we won a lot of races and had some good battles but in the middle of the year we had a little bit of bad luck and little problems that cost us wins and he got a bit of momentum going. When you have a bit of momentum going it's hard to break and then at Assen it was a little bit unfortunate, obviously, and then at Silverstone I had a crash and it hurt me then it was Brands.
I think that Alex has matured into a really strong rider. We both had to ride on the limit to do what we did this season and he's now doing that without making the mistakes that he had made before. We all make little mistakes but now his little mistakes don't punish him as much as the big ones that he used to make.
I think that for me the wonderful thing about Alex is that he's jumped on the [Crescent] Suzuki, which isn't necessarily the most competitive bike in World Superbikes, and I know for a fact that he didn't use a qualifying tyre and he's fourth quickest.