Shane Byrne is aiming to mark his 300th race start in BSB in style at Oulton Park and has been given extra confidence in his Be Wiser Ducati after a productive in-season test.
Due to restrictions at the Cheshire track the Ducati machines were unable to test with the rest of the BSB paddock and as a result Byrne, along with Be Wiser Ducati team-mate Glenn Irwin, enjoyed a private day of testing at Knockhill.
The pair continued to refine the factory-supported Ducati Panigale R into a race-winning package after Byrne narrowly missed out on victory in the 2016 season opener at Silverstone three weeks ago.
Byrne's two second place finishes at the Northamptonshire circuit gave him the championship lead after round one – as well as a healthy helping of podium credits looking ahead to the Showdown – and the four-time champion is keen to add to those on his 300th outing in BSB.
“Paul [Bird, team owner] booked us a private test up at Knockhill and it was probably one of the nicest days I've ever seen in Scotland,” Byrne said. “The test was great and enabled us to continue working on the Panigale, concentrating hard on throttle connection and mapping.
“There was only us there meaning we weren't confined to sessions with other riders and we never drove ourselves mad to set the bike specifically for Knockhill. But even so, our lap times were good and I'm really looking forward to Oulton Park and with my 300th start in BSB this weekend. I hope to make it a memorable weekend and continue our strong start to the season.”
With 68 BSB wins in 299 races, Byrne is naturally targeting the top step of the rostrum at the Cheshire track to grab an early championship advantage in his bid for an unprecedented fifth BSB title.
“People shouldn't take anything away from me or my team, we want to win many more races than we have in any other year and I want to win title at the end of the season,” he said. “I know I am not going to do that by dolloping around in fifth or sixth place so we'll do all we possibly can to ensure that we can at least maintain the momentum we've started with so far.
“We had two second place finishes at Silverstone which was a really, really good start for us so if we can come out that strong for the first round and maintain that level or even better with wins, then we can really get the season kick started at Oulton Park.”