Shane Byrne made a convincing pitch as the man to beat in this year's British Superbike Championship after turning his weekend around with victory in the second race at Thruxton.
The HM Plant Honda rider started race one from the back of the grid following an accident in qualifying, but scythed his way up the order to join the lead group mid-way through the wet race.
Proceeding to pick off his rivals, though he was edged on the final corner by Michael Rutter, Byrne was delighted with the result given his grid position and his misted visor.
“That was the first time I had ridden the HM Plant Honda Fireblade in the wet conditions and I have to say it was great. I had some real vision problems with my visor and to be honest I couldn't read my pit board and I only knew it was the last lap because I saw the flag on the start line. I thought 'oh no it's the last lap' and I couldn't have pushed it any harder.”
Scoring the fastest lap during his charge, Byrne made no mistake from pole position in race two, grabbing the lead by the end of the first lap and controlling the margin from there.
“Race two was a bit easier as I started from pole rather than the back of the grid! After the first race I was desperate to get to the front and just ride my own race. I was smoother and the HM Plant Honda Fireblade was on rails so I couldn't have been happier.
“The track was quite grippy and once I got to the front I was comfortable and in a rhythm. I think I could have even gone faster if I pushed a bit but it has been a great weekend and all credit to the team. I can't wait for Knockhill now.”
Byrne extends his advantage in the BSB standings to 15 points over John Hopkins, though perhaps more crucially, he is 71 points clear of seventh place rider Ryuichi Kiyonari.