Shane Byrne looks ahead to a potential fourth BSB title-winning season, but reveals he is not in the best condition for the championship opener...
Did you feel fairly beaten at the end of last season?

Shane Byrne:
Well, at the end of the day the rules are the rules and even with the points as they were I think Alex was a worthy champion. Without taking anything away from him though I didn't feel I did anything wrong and I was just one race away. If your next question is going to be 'What would you change for this year?' then I'd have to say 'nothing'. It came down to one race. I'm keeping the same approach and getting ready for Monday afternoon

Ultimately I don't like looking back though because we've got a job in hand here in 2014 and that's what I'm concentrating on. I took a massive kick in nuts by losing the championship last year and that's resulted me giving myself a massive kick up the backside by pushing myself in training and I think I'm probably in the best shape I've ever been. I've been training very hard over the winter, I've employed a personal trainer and I've dropped 4 or 5 kilos and that's partly because of having Stuart Easton as a team mate, he's so light and that amount of weight makes a massive difference
You look slightly uncomfortable though?

Shane Byrne:
Unfortunately that's true because I've pulled my back. I had to do a feature for Eurosport where I had to put my son on some monkey bars, he panicked, I reached out to catch him and pulled my back quite severely. It's bad and I've been with the physio. I'm OK on the bike but when I try to get off it's mission impossible. I'm always arched over and I just want to straight again!
You can get past it on the bike though?

Shane Byrne:
With my physio I can manage it but it's such a shame to come here feeling second hand for the first round though it is better than feeling that way on the last round like I did last year
Will it be difficult on this very intense short Brands circuit?

Shane Byrne:
I may have pulled my back but I'm still fastest. The circuit lends itself to some really close racing because it's only 45 seconds to go around it and there's not a lot you can do wrong so I'll be OK. The important thing is that I'm topping the timesheets.
Do you think Stuart's going to be pushing you harder this season?

Shane Byrne:
Yeah, I think so. Stuart's very much a confidence rider and at the moment he's happy and buzzing. He's a naturally fast and gifted rider and hopefully in the end he will be able to help me out. I don't think it's arrogant to say that I never even consider that I'd be out of the showdown and with a team mate up to speed and ready to back you up it's always a good thing.
But there's no number 1 and 2 riders at PBM Kawasaki?

Shane Byrne:
No absolutely not. Stuarts a multiple champion the same as me and has every right to be in the team on his own merits. We've been team mates before, get on very well and talk about everything together.
Is the team and crew the same?

Shane Byrne:
Yes, I wouldn't change a thing. I'm happy that Staurt back because he fits in so well and the team's just like a bunch of guys who all enjoy being and hanging out together. We've just got to the stage where we like being around each other and there's never a time when I don't give 100% because I know that's coming the other way.

Colin Wright once said to me that a team's like a pyramid and the easiest thing to change is the rider. I'm not asking to be changed but I just want to stress how important a solid team is. If the base is good the results'll come.
After all this time, what's your motivation?

Shane Byrne:
It's about chipping away at the small bits of perfection, it's trying to achieve the perfect lap. I enjoy that, I know when I've achieved that perfect lap and that feels really good. Getting close to perfection is always a real drive for me. It's such a rewarding feeling and once you've done that you want to maintain it with factors like tyres and fatigue getting in the way. I didn't get one of those laps this weekend but when you get them you just know it

The bikes pretty spot on at the moment though and that helps with that. We're just making small changes at the moment which may not show in the data but just give that last bit of feel. When changes are that small then it's all about how the rider interprets it

At the moment we're trying to chase that setting without upping the risks. I'm staying within my limits and the improvement is coming from tuning the bike rather than me sticking my neck out. It's all about maintaing the risk and getting the rest of the jigsaw puzzle right. There is a point at which there's nothing more to be found though and we're getting close to that now
And the thought of the fourth championship still burns pretty bright?

Shane Byrne:
Not as bright as the 5th, 6th and 7th! If I never got a shot on a factory World Superbike where I know I can do a good job then I want to be by far the most successful BSB rider there's ever been. I've got the team around me and now we've just got to get it.
Thanks Shakey and good luck on Monday.

Shane Byrne:


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