Though only the second time this year that he has not come away from a round with at least one victory to his name, a double podium finish for Shane Byrne at Knockhill was actually enough for him to substantially increase his series lead.

The HM Plant Honda rider, who has won three races so far this season, provided further evidence of his title favourite status as he rose from ninth on the grid in race one to get into third place, a charge that was rewarded with second on the grid in race two.

A good start enabled him to dive ahead of Tommy Hill into the first corner, whereby he proceeded to fend off the Swan Yamaha man for two-thirds of the race. However, with Byrne aware that closest rival John Hopkins had already crashed out, he did not push hard to regain the lead when Hill eventually found his way through.

Nonetheless, third and second place finishes have not only helped Byrne increase his lead to 32 points over second place Hopkins, but he is also 93 points up on seventh place man Peter Hickman.

"It is great to be back on the podium again for HM Plant Honda in both races and I have to say at one point that I thought maybe I could get passed John Hopkins in the first race for second, so I just kept pushing," he said. "In race two Tommy just had that bit more than me. I was pushing as I knew that otherwise he would get away at the front and then there were the safety car moments and I realised that John (Hopkins) was out. I wanted the win but the points and podium credits are so vital to the championship and you can't lose sight of that.

"As well as trying to pass Tommy, I was trying to keep Michael (Laverty) behind me and he kept me honest in that race. We now need to get to another track where we can get them back!

"I have to thank the HM Plant Honda team for the hard work at the weekend as the conditions were changing all the time and wet or dry we were up there with the Fireblade where we needed to be."


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