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Shane Byrne to stay in BSB
20 November 2012
Shane Byrne has turned down the chance of a MotoGP return in order to defend his latest British Superbike title in 2013.
The triple champion is to remain with the PBM team, which had offered him a MotoGP opportunity, in BSB - where he will be joined on the team's Rapid Solicitors Kawasakis by double National Superstock champion Keith Farmer.
2013 will be the first time that Byrne will defend a BSB title, having previously moved on to MotoGP and World Superbike respectively.
"I was in the enviable position of being offered a ride in either MotoGP or BSB by Paul Bird and after some careful consideration; I thought that the option of staying with my championship winning team on a great bike in BSB was too strong a temptation to resist," said Byrne, who had been due to test for PBM at last week's Valencia MotoGP test, but didn't leave the pits due to bad weather.
Byrne needs only two more victories to equal Ryuichi Kiyonari's record of 43 career wins while no rider has yet won a fourth BSB title. Byrne is presently tied with fellow triple winners Kiyonari and Niall Mackenzie.
"We are within sight of some records and so for the first time ever in my career, I am riding for the same team again but it wasn't really a difficult decision to make,” said Byrne.
"We are going into 2013 even stronger and with a few improvements to the bike as well as me training harder than ever, I'm hoping I can defend the title but it won't be easy. The one remaining decision I have to make is whether I run with my traditional number 67 or I use the number one plate, you'll have to wait and see!"
The 35-year-old Londoner will be joined by Farmer, who this year added the 1000 Superstock title to his previous 600cc crown.
The 24-year-old Ulsterman had a one-off ride on the injured Stuart Easton's machine at Oulton Park, where he impressed during qualifying before claiming a top twenty result on his first ever outing on a Superbike.
"I don't know how to put into words how happy I am”, said Farmer. “I thought last year was a big year for me but it keeps getting bigger and better. I am also very pleased that Shakey is my team-mate as he helped me a lot this year.
“I can't thank Paul and the rest of the team enough, he said from the end of last season that he would look after me and yet again he has stuck to his word and put me on Superbike.
“All I can do to show him my appreciation is to get up front with the reigning British Superbike Champion Shakey, as that's how we roll!"
PBM returned to BSB this year after three seasons in the World Superbike Championship. Team owner Paul Bird said last year was a case of mission accomplished and that the goal for 2013 is to defend a BSB crown for the first time.
"I'm delighted that we are back in BSB and that Shakey and Keith will be riding for us,” said Bird. “We came back to Britain for one thing only and that was for us to win the title and now we aim to defend it as we've never had a rider do that.
“Shakey proved he was the dominant force last season and there's no reason why he can't do it again. Keith is a very talented rider who we aim to develop in forthcoming seasons and it's great that him and Shakey get on really well as he can learn a lot.”
Despite Byrne's BSB decision, and a parting of ways with James Ellison, PBM still intends to expand to a two-rider MotoGP line-up in 2013, alongside its BSB commitments.
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